Beyond Dublin

von Maximilian Steinbeis

A week of reckoning for the ailing European asylum system – this was what many had expected last week to be. The ECJ would certify, in its judgments A.S. and Jafari, the blatant inadequacy of the Dublin system in the face of humanitarian crises, of migration flows of unprecedented proportions, of tens of thousands drowned, frozen, and murdered on the way – just as Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston had so eloquently argued in her opinion.

It did not turn out that way. The Dublin system is what we have, and the Luxembourg judges give us no other. The states on the external borders remain, in principle, alone with the responsibility to manage refugee figures in the six and seven digits range in the case of a crisis. Politically, that is disappointing – but on the other hand, as far as the function of the ECJ as a court is concerned, this result, unsatisfying as it may be, still has quite a lot going for itself. The ECJ, as FERDINAND WEBER puts it, has kicked the ball back into the field of politics. And this is where, according to CONSTANTIN HRUSCHKA, it belongs: "The court demonstrates a calming responsibility towards the rule of law in the overheated asylum debate by not trying to read solutions for unresolved, fundamental problems into the legal norms. Progressive solutions must come from the legislature, which on the European level is the European Parliament and the Council".

We would gladly receive such progressive solutions from the legislature, but neither past experience nor present evidence give us much hope on that account. What we have heard about Dublin IV so far sounds rather like more of the same. The relocation of 120,000 refugees from Italy and Greece remains as dead in the water as it was ever since its inception, even if Advocate General Yves Bot considers the complaints of Hungary and Slovakia against that obligation to be unfounded (on which opinion we expect, by the way, a comment by RALUCA BEJAN) ...

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