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As it regularly does, the European Commission published on 7 December its decisions on infringement procedures initiated or maintained against Member States that fail to comply with their obligations under the European Union legislation on asylum or migration.
Referral of three Member States to the CJEU for refusal to relocate refugees
On 15 June 2017, the European Commission launched infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for non-compliance with their refugee relocation obligations. In the absence of satisfactory replies, it continued the procedure with “reasoned opinions” sent to the three countries on 26 July 2017. Referred to by the Member States contesting the validity of the Council’s decisions on relocation of 22 and 14 September 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered its ruling on 6 September. It confirms the validity of the relocation scheme.
But those Member States continue to stand their ground. Hungary has taken no action since the beginning of the program; Poland has not relocated or offered any places since December 2015; the Czech Republic has not relocated since August 2016 and has not offered any new places for more than a year.
The European Commission notes that, of course, the relocation program ended last September ; but around 4 000 people are still waiting to be transferred from Greece or Italy to other Member States. Believing that the Member States in question cannot continue withdrawing from their obligations, it has therefore decided to bring an action before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
For more information:
– European Commission: Relocation: Commission refers the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to the Court of Justice, Brussels, 7 December 2017 – http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-5002_en.htm
Reasoned opinion sent to Hungary on the transposition of asylum legislation
In December 2015, the Commission launched an infringement procedure against Hungary for its inadequate transposition of EU asylum law. A supplementary letter of formal notice was sent on 17 May 2017.
The reform adopted by the Hungarian Parliament in October led the Commission to lift four of the eleven concerns mentioned in the supplementary letter of formal notice.
On the other hand, the reply provided by the Hungarian authorities is still not considered satisfactory and the Commission still considers that the Hungarian law does not respect EU law and in particular Directive 2013/32/EU on asylum procedures, Directive 2008/115/EC on return, Directive 2013/33/EU on reception conditions, and several provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
For more information:
– European Commission: Commission steps up infringement against Hungary concerning its asylum law, Brussels 7 December 2017 – http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-5023_EN.htm
– Letter of formal notice, 17 May 2017- Lettre de mise en demeure du 17 mai 2017 – http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-1285_en.htm
– AEDH: « Peut-on ramener la Hongrie à la raison et au respect des droits ? », 17 May 2017 – http://www.aedh.eu/Peut-on-ramener-la-Hongrie-a-la.html (FR)
Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania put on notice for their legislation on “legal” migration
The Commission sent letters of formal notice to Greece, the Netherlands and Portugal for conditioning the granting of residence permits to excessive and disproportionate costs. The Commission recognises that Member States are indeed allowed to charge administrative fees for the processing of applications, but considers that excessive and disproportionate costs violate applicants’ rights.
It also sent a letter of formal notice to Romania “for the incorrect transposition and implementation of certain provisions of the EU directives in this area“.
For the four countries, the Directives in question concern the conditions of entry and residence for certain categories of migrants, such as students (Council Directive 2004/114/EC), researchers (Council Directive 2005/71/EC ) and highly qualified workers (Council Directive 2009/50/EC, known as the “Blue Card Directive”), but also the “Single Permit Directive” (Directive 2011/98/EU).
In addition, the Commission seeks clarification on the implementation of the Long-Term Residents Directive (Council Directive 2003/109/EC) and the Family Reunification Directive (Council Directive 2003/86/EC) by Greece, Portugal and Romania.
In particular, the Commission considers that Greece failed to fulfill its obligations under the Long-Term Residents Directive by imposing conditions for the renewal of long-term residence permits instead of renewing them automatically.
Finally, an infringement procedure was initiated against Romania for the incorrect transposition and implementation of the provisions on the rejection of residence permits and the obligation to justify the grounds for refusal imposed by the EU Directives.
All four countries have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission.
For more information:
– European Commission: December infringements package: key decisions, 7 December 2017- http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-4767_en.htm
– European Commission: Informations on infringement procedures: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-12-12_en.htm
– European Commission: Browse infringements of EU Home Affairs: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-is-new/eu-law-and-monitoring/infringements_en