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ECJ: Advocate General considers that EU border states cannot be responsible for all asylum applications in context of mass arrivals
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"[The Advocate General] reiterates the unprecedented inflow of persons into the Western Balkans and the fact that no bespoke criterion was inserted into the Dublin III Regulation to cover that situation. In the Advocate General’s opinion, if border Member States, such as Croatia, are deemed to be responsible for accepting and processing exceptionally high numbers of asylum seekers, there is a real risk that they will simply be unable to cope with the situation. This in turn could place Member States in a position where they are unable to comply with their obligations under EU and international law.

Accordingly, in view of the Regulation’s aim to allocate responsibility clearly among Member States for the examination of applications for international protection, and the fact that in neither case has the Member State in which the applications were lodged assumed voluntary responsibility, those applications should be examined by the first Member State in which those applications are lodged, as provided in Article 3(2) of the Dublin III Regulation.

The Advocate General concludes that Slovenia is the Member State responsible for examining Mr A.S.’s application for international protection and Austria is the Member State responsible for examining the Jafari families’ applications."

The opinion concerns two cases: one of a Syrian national who applied for asylum in Slovenia after travelling via the Balkan Route and arriving in Croatia, where the authorities allowed him to move on to Slovenia; and another of an Afghan family who applied for asylum after entering the EU first via Greece and then, after travelling along the Balkan Route, via Croatia.

See: Press release (pdf) and: Opinion of Advocate General Sharpston in cases C-490/16 (A.S. v Republic of Slovenia) and C-646/16 (Jafari) (pdf)

See also: Countries have to examine all refugees applications: EU Court smashes the ‘irregular crossing’ provision in the Dublin III Regulation (New Europe, link):

"In the exceptional circumstances of the refugee crisis, the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Eleanor Sharpston, decided today that the EU member states in which applications for international protection were first lodged are responsible for examining those applications The words ‘irregular crossing’ in the Dublin III Regulation do not cover a situation where, as a result of the mass inflow of people into border Member States, those countries allowed third- country nationals to enter and transit through their territory in order to reach other Member States."

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