Croatian Actions During Migrant Crisis Were Legal

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An attorney at the Court of the European Union finds that Croatia’s actions were proper.

The way in which Croatia acted during the migrant crisis of 2015, when the government led by Zoran Milanović decided to transport migrants and refugees from the eastern borders to the western borders as quickly as possible, was proper and in accordance with European regulations, concluded an independent attorney of the Court of the European Union. She gave her opinion as part of two cases in which Slovenia and Austria claim that Croatia is the one responsible for asylum requests made by citizens of Syria and Afghanistan, reports Večernji List on June 10, 2017.

The two cases are being reviewed by the Court of the European Union in Luxembourg. In the first case, Slovenia claims that Syrian citizen ”A.S.” entered Croatia “illegally,” within the meaning of the Dublin II regulation. The Syrian challenged the Slovenian decision, arguing that the fact that the Croatian authorities had allowed him to enter the Republic of Croatia and continue traveling on the Western Balkan route should be interpreted as him lawfully entering Croatia.

In the second case, the Jafari family from Afghanistan first entered the European Union in Greece and then re-entered the EU in Croatia, which then transferred them further to the west, before the whole family claimed asylum in Austria. Austria also argues that Croatia is responsible for dealing with their asylum requests.

Although these two cases are about specific individuals, the verdict of the Court of the EU (which is still pending) will legally answer a much greater dilemma that concerns all similar situations with asylum seekers, who have used one of the migrant routes to reach the European Union.

The independent attorney of the Court of the EU – whose opinion is important and influential, although not final – concluded that, contrary to the arguments made by Slovenia and Austria, Croatia was not responsible for the consideration of such applications for asylum. Slovenia is responsible for A.S.’s request, while Austria is in charge of the Jafari family.

According to her legal opinion, the term “illegal crossing of the border” does not cover a situation where, due to the mass influx of people seeking international protection in the European Union, member states such as Croatia allow these people to cross the external border of the EU and continue travelling to other countries in order to seek asylum.


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