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The Future of the Dublin System after the Case of M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece

  • Briefing
  • The way forward when dealing with countries facing acute migratory pressure?

, 19. April 2011



The Law Societies Joint Brussels Office, Avenue des Nerviens 85
5th floor, 1040 Brussels


Under the system of Regulation 343/2003/EC (commonly referred to as the ‘Dublin Regulation’) an asylum application must in principle be dealt with by the country through which the person first entered the EU. This has led to asymmetric migratory pressure on countries that have an external Schengen land border, pressures that are becoming more acute in light of the political situation in Northern Africa.

The extremely difficult situation of asylum seekers and persons transferred under the Dublin system to Greece has been a cause of concern in a number of EU Member States. The European Court of Human Rights, in its ruling K.R.S. v. UK of 2 December 2008, considered that persons transferred under the Dublin system from the UK to Greece could not challenge the decision on the transfer in the UK. In its recent judgment on M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece of 21 January 2011, however, it held that it would violate the rights enshrined in the ECHR if a person were transferred to Greece under the Dublin system. It also held that judicial protection against the decision on the transfer in Belgium was not sufficient.

This ERA briefing will present the main points of the judgment and analyse how it will affect the future functioning of the Dublin system:
  • Will the sovereignty clause of Article 3(2) of the Dublin Regulation gain new prominence and what does that mean for the overall functioning of the Dublin system?
  • How will Member States’ authorities and courts evaluate whether the situation in a particular Member State is particularly difficult for asylum seekers?
  • What remedies need to be put in place in all EU Member States for persons due to be transferred back to their first country of entry?

Confirmed speakers:

Samuel Boutruche, Bureau for Europe, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Strasbourg
Isabel Casteleyn, Migration & Asylum Strategy Cell, Cabinet of Minister Melchior Wathelet, Brussels
Kris Pollet, Senior Legal and Policy Officer, ECRE, Brussels

Registration fee (including documentation and refreshments)

Standard: € 50
EU officials and members of the 'Friends of ERA' association: € 0





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