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

Unusual times are said to call for unusual measures. The war of aggression against Ukraine, and the departure of literally millions of citizens within a few days have triggered an unprecedented wave of solidarity. UNHCR estimates that up to four million Ukrainians may seek refuge in neighbouring countries in the coming months. More than 150 thousand people are crossing the external borders each day. Member States are experiencing what Turkey and Lebanon witnessed in the early phases of the Syrian civil war: neighbouring states are the first countries of refuge.

Activating the Temporary Protection Directive 2001/55/EC was a smart and pragmatic response of the EU institutions. Member States unanimously agreed to do so at the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Thursday, 3 March 2022. The final text of Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 was published the following day.

The Many Advantages of Temporary Protection

Recourse to this old Directive, which had not been activated a single time beforehand, has two main advantages. Firstly, it prevents an overstretch of scarce administrative resources. Beneficiaries will receive a protection status without the need to go through long and complex asylum procedures. Doing so would have taken weeks, if not months. State authorities can concentrate on the reception of beneficiaries instead.

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By Dr Meltem İneli Ciğer, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Suleyman Demirel University.

Russian armed forces launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Russia’s aggression in Ukraine intensified as the days went by and the number of displaced persons grew rapidly. The Council of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs’ meeting on 27 February concluded that “The Commission proposed activating the mechanism provided for by the 2001 directive on temporary protection. There were expressions of broad support for this measure, which will be submitted to the JHA Council without delay.” The Council adopted a decision unanimously establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine and activated the Temporary Protection Directive 2001/55/EC (TPD) on 4 March 2022. This was the first time the TPD was activated since its adoption in 2001 and one may wonder why.

A personal Account of the Temporary Protection Directive and its non-implementation

I started working on temporary protection in 2011 when I began my Ph.D. at the University of Bristol. Over the years, I have questioned why the Temporary Protection Directive has not been implemented to respond to mass displacements from Tunisia and Libya following the Arab Spring and when nearly one million asylum seekers and migrants arrived in the Greek shores mostly Syrians fleeing the civil war in 2015. I had the opportunity to work alongside many great experts when the Study on the Temporary Protection Directive upon the initiative of the European Commission was being prepared and get to learn first-hand what the Commission, the Parliament, UNHCR, asylum NGOs, and academics thought of the Directive. So when I published my monograph, which was a revised version of my Ph.D. thesis, Temporary Protection in Law and Practice’ in 2018, I was confident that there were six reasons behind the non-implementation of the Directive: Continue reading »

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By Caroline Leclercq, Project and Research Assistant for the Odysseus Academic Network for Legal Studies in Asylum and Immigration in EuropeUniversité Libre de BruxellesInstitute for European Studies, Belgium.

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Les multiples crises auxquelles l’UE a dû faire face au cours des dernières années ont poussé les États membres à rétablir des contrôles à leurs frontières intérieures afin de faire face à la menace terroriste, migratoire ou plus récemment sanitaire. Certaines dispositions du Code Frontières Schengen (CFS) autorisent de telles exceptions, mais pour une durée limitée. En cas de menace grave et prévisible (art. 25 § 1 CFS) ou imprévisible (art. 28 CFS) pour l’ordre public ou la sécurité intérieure, les États membres peuvent réintroduire le contrôle à leurs frontières pour une durée maximale de six mois. En outre, lorsqu’ils sont confrontés à des “circonstances exceptionnelles mettant en péril le fonctionnement global de l’espace Schengen en raison de manquements graves et persistants liés au contrôle aux frontières extérieures”, la durée maximale est portée à deux ans (art. 29 CFS).

Or, l’Allemagne, la France, l’Autriche et la Suède ont introduit des contrôles dépassant ces limites de temps. L’un de ces contrôles prolongés fait l’objet d’une question préjudicielle posée à la Cour de Justice dans une affaire NW/Landespolizeidirektion Steiermark qui concerne la contestation par un ressortissant slovaque d’une amende qu’il s’est vu infliger lors de son passage de la frontière entre la Slovénie et l’Autriche parce qu’il n’était pas en possession d’un document de voyage valide. Bien qu’il s’agit d’un cas précis, l’affaire recouvre plus largement la question de savoir si les limites de temps pour la réintroduction du contrôle aux frontières intérieures mentionnées dans le CFS sont absolues.  

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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. 

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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.

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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?

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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). 

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