23 May 2014

The Meijers Committee (Standing Committee of Experts on International Immigration, Refugee and Criminal Law)  expressed concern over the absence of an EU system for the mutual recognition of asylum statuses and transfer of protection highlighted by M.G. v. Bulgaria (application no. 59297/12)in a letter to the European Commission on 15 May 2014. In this judgment, the European Court of Human Rights found that the extradition of a Chechen man – who had obtained refugee status in Poland and Germany – from Bulgaria to Russia would violate his rights under Article 3 European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) due to reports of frequent torture of detainees suspected of belonging to armed insurgent groups. The Meijers Committee asserts that the creation of a framework of mutual recognition of statuses is important for the efficacy of the Common European Asylum System.

The Committee envisages a system in which statuses granted on the basis of the Qualification Directive (2011/95/EU) are mutually recognised under EU law and wherein beneficiaries of international protection may be expelled only to the Member State which granted international protection. Furthermore, the Committee recommends the creation of an EU mechanism for the transfer of responsibility in order to ensure that persons granted international protection on the basis of the Qualification Directive and who lawfully take up residence in another Member State are able to enjoy the rights and benefits to which they are entitled under the Qualification Directive in the second Member State, after some period of legal residence.

The Meijer Committee also invites the European Commission to publish guidelines on the application of the ECHR and the Charter of Fundamental Rights in cases similar to M.G. v. Bulgaria until the current gap is resolved through legislative action.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 23 May 2014.
You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.