image_printPrint this article

By Daniel Thym, Professor of European and International Law and Director of the Research Centre Immigration & Asylum Law, University of Konstanz, Germany.

Germany is an important player in EU migration law and policy. More than 6 million third country nationals are living in the country, which receives the highest overall number of asylum applications in Europe. This blogpost presents the projects on migration in the coalition agreement of the new government of Social Democrats, Greens, and Liberals, dubbed Ampelkoalition (‘traffic light coalition’, after the colours commonly used for the participating parties). We shall see that it foresees noticeable innovations and surprise outcomes, both for the domestic and the European debate. Germany swims against the tide of restrictive policies.

Double Nationality and Swift Naturalisation

In a symbolic move, the coalition agreement speaks of a ‘modern country of immigration’, thus bringing to an end the decade-long debate as to whether Germany should be labelled as a ‘country of immigration’ (Einwanderungsland). To be sure, the distinction had lost its former fascination in recent years. Few people would seriously doubt that a country with a foreign-born population of 16.1% qualifies as a ‘country of immigration’. Yet the move is symbolically relevant, not least since it is supported by another decisive move to facilitate naturalisation. 

Continue reading »

image_printPrint this article

By Ninon Forster, Maîtresse de conférences, Université Rennes 2.

Depuis plusieurs années, diverses institutions, organisations non gouvernementales et auteurs de doctrine dénoncent l’irresponsabilité de Frontex. Dans le cadre de ses opérations, sa culpabilité est pointée pour ses actions et inactions constitutives de violation du droit d’asile, la dissimulation et le soutien à des opérations de refoulement, des mauvais traitements et actes de violence envers des migrants, ou encore un manque de transparence en matière de protection des données personnelles. Ces critiques se sont exacerbées avec l’augmentation rapide des pouvoirs et moyens de l’agence. Si formellement la responsabilité de Frontex a été renforcée au travers des règlements 2016/1624 et 2019/1896, en pratique, l’engagement de cette responsabilité reste difficile. 

Sans remettre en cause les critiques à l’encontre de Frontex, il faut toutefois remarquer qu’elles reposent sur une approche globale de la responsabilité qui embrasse des acceptions de la notion dont la nature diffère. Telle qu’elle est employée, la notion fait tout à la fois référence à une responsabilité politique (article 6 du règlement 2019/1896), une responsabilité pénale (article 85), une responsabilité civile contractuelle et non contractuelle (articles 87, § 2, alinéa 2 et 97), voire à une responsabilité morale. Ce type d’approche trop globale brouille le débat. Dénoncer de manière aussi générale les carences de responsabilité de l’agence conduit à ignorer la finalité et la spécificité de chacun des mécanismes qui la mettent en œuvre.

Continue reading »

image_printPrint this article

 

Dublin transfers

By Dr Ermioni Xanthopoulou, Senior Lecturer in Law, Brunel University Londonauthor of ‘Fundamental Rights and Mutual Trust in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice: A Role for Proportionality?’ 

Brunel University London Logo Download Vector

Transfers of asylum seekers based on the Dublin III Regulation have early and often been criticised as not being respectful of fundamental rights. This is associated with an imbalance between migration control interests, on the one hand, and fundamental rights, on the other. With the purpose of achieving an efficient system of cooperation, mutual trust among Member States was demanded by the Court of Justice rather than properly constructed or earned. Mutual trust in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) was originally seen as blind before it was qualified by the Court’s interpretation (e.g. in N.S. and M.E. and recently in Jawo and Aranyosi as regards the respective operation of the principle in the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant which is another case study often compared to the Dublin III Regulation). 

Continue reading »

image_printPrint this article

 

Asylum Reform

By Nikolas Feith Tan, Senior Researcher, Danish Institute for Human Rights and Jens Vedsted-Hansen, Professor, Aarhus University.

On 3 June 2021, Denmark’s parliament passed Bill L 226, a legislative amendment allowing for the transfer of asylum seekers to a third country outside the EU for the purposes of both asylum processing and protection of refugees in the third country. The amendment provides that transfers must take place under an international agreement between Denmark and the third country and that asylum seekers are to be transferred unless it would be in breach of Denmark’s international obligations. The new legislation and the international agreements foreseen to implement it, in case such transfers of asylum seekers are going to be a real feature of Danish asylum policy, represent a fundamental shift from the traditional perceptions of territorial asylum, according to which the state where an asylum seeker arrives normally assumes responsibility for assessing her asylum claim and, if found in need of international protection, for providing it. 

While various proposals to externalise asylum processes or refugee protection have been tabled over the years, in particular since the 2015 migration and asylum crisis, the Danish legislation is unique in establishing a legal mechanism for the transfer of asylum seekers outside Europe. The proposed model seems to be radically more far-reaching than the gradually established practices of pre-procedure transfer of asylum seekers to ‘safe third countries’. Among those, so far the most notable within Europe is the 2016 EU-Turkey ‘statement’, an arrangement under which asylum seekers would be returned from the Greek Aegean islands to Turkey with reference, albeit disputed, to the ‘safe third country’ concept.

Continue reading »

image_printPrint this article

 

The Armed Conflict in Afghanistan and Forcible Displacement

Afghanistan has been characterised by an almost continuous situation of armed conflict since 1978. More recently, the main actors involved in the conflict included the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), supported by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force/Resolute Support Mission, fighting against the Taliban. However, in the last few months, the Taliban gained control of an increasing number of provinces, including provincial capitals. Things moved fast. On 15 August 2021, President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul leaving the Taliban to take over the Presidential Palace and announce the restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.  

As a direct consequence of the violence that has characterised the conflict in Afghanistan for several decades, Afghans constitute the second largest refugee population in the world. In the European Union (EU), asylum seekers from Afghanistan have been in the top three countries of origin since 2015. Despite the prolonged conflict in Afghanistan, Governments of EU Member States have regularly returned or attempted to return Afghans. Even whilst the Taliban were overtaking a large amount of territory and only 10 days before they took over Kabul, Ministers from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands wrote to the European Commission to emphasise “the urgent need to perform returns, both voluntary and non-voluntary, to Afghanistan”.  

image_printPrint this article

By Ana Rita Gil, Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Lisbon.

“Legal Rights to regularisation” in the Portuguese Immigration Law in “normal times”

Since the 2008 European Pact on Immigration and Asylum, the European Union has urged Member States to refrain from adopting the so-called “mass regularisations of migrants”. At the same time, the European Court of Human Rights case-law recognised that, in some cases, the right to respect one’s private life could require, exceptionally, a positive duty to regularise a migrant’s legal status. Nonetheless, a “right to regularisation” has been always seen as somehow paradoxical.

Since its enactment in 2007, the Portuguese Immigration Law foresees several “regularisation” possibilities, which have been gradually expanded. Article 122, for example, contains a long list of cases whereby a migrant may regularise his or her status for the purpose of protecting their human rights to family, to private life or even to health. Articles 88 and 89, on their side, refer to regularisation for the purposes of dependent and independent professional activity and, therefore, represent mere immigration policy options. Until 2017, these “economic” regularisation opportunities only corresponded to pure discretionary administrative powers.

Continue reading »