European Court: Austria and Slovenia can deport refugees to Croatia
European Court: Austria and Slovenia can deport refugees to Croatia

The European Court of Justice [official website] ruled [press release, PDF] Wednesday in favor of Austria and Slovenia’s deportation of refugees to Croatia, thereby requiring asylum-seekers to return to the first EU member state in which they arrive. In upholding these so-called Dublin Regulations, the court permitted nations to deport refugees who entered through an EU border state. In making this decision, the court also noted that under the Schengen Borders Code, states may also permit non-EU refugees that fail to meet state travel laws regulations, to enter the nation. Concerning this determination, the court noted:

If it were accepted that the entry of a non-EU national authorized by a Member State on humanitarian grounds by way of derogation from the entry conditions generally imposed on such nationals does not constitute an irregular crossing of the border, that would imply that the member state is not responsible for examining the application for international protection lodged by that person in another member state.

The case arose when a Serbian man and two Afghan families, who entered the EU through to return to Croatia, were deported back to Croatia to seek asylum.

The rights of refugee and migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issues around the world. In January the Slovenian parliament passed amendments to the Aliens Act [JURIST report] to enact emergency measures to deny refugees entry into the country and to expel those whom did not have their asylum claims properly assessed. Last September Austria threatened legal action [JURIST report] against Hungary if Hungary does not begin accepting returning migrants that crossed into Austria from Hungary.