The Odysseus Network’s III Annual Conference

Professor Joana Abrisketa attended the Odysseus Conference “Conflict and Compromise in the EU Migration and Asylum Policies” held in Brussels on February 1, 2018. The Annual Conference is organised by the Odysseus Academic Network, a leading network of legal experts in immigration and asylum in Europe, in the framework of the OMNIA project and with the support of the Jean Monnet activities of the Erasmus +Programme of the European Union.

The overarching themes of the Conference were the several rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union taken in 2017. The content of sensitive cases such as the one of the visas for asylum seekers, or the one on relocation and solidarity, as well as the EU/Turkey Declaration were discussed by the participants. The European Agenda on Migration was also analysed, in relation with the Commission Communications of 27 September and 7 December 2017.

Professor Philippe De Bruycker, Coordinator of the Odysseus Academic Network in the ULB, Brussels, gave the welcome speech. During this session, François Crépeau, Professor in Mc Gill University, Canada, and Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, took part. Elspeth Guild, Jean Monnet Professor ad personam, Queen Mary University London, took part as a convener in the workshop related to the human right to leave a country. The Libyan Coastguards implications and the international responsibility for the cooperation of the EU and its member states was dealt by Professor Achilles Skordas, from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. The question concerning visas for asylum was presented by professor Violeta Moreno-Lax, Associate Professor in Law in Queen Mary University of London.

The final plenary session was presented, among other participants, by Eleanor Sharpston, Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union and Henri Labayle, Professeur de droit européen of tthe Université de Pau and the Pay de l’Adour, France, who explained the limits and the technical and political choices made by the Union institutions as regards the judment of the CJUE in Slovaquia and Hungary v. Council, of 6th September 2017.

Article: Relocation of the refugees, a solidarity deficit and a gap in the European Union

Published in the Revista General de Derecho Europeo, no. 44 (January, 2018)

(ABSTRACT) In the judgment of the 6th September 2017, the European Union Court of Justice ruled on the Decision (EU) 2015/1601 of 22 September 2015 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (Relocation Decision). As the demands for international protection in the two countries reached numbers never seen before, the Decision put into play a temporary mechanism for the relocation of the asylum seekers arriving from Greece and Italy. According to the Relocation Decision, the remaining State members of the EU would receive 120.000 asylum seekers who would have presented their petition in the two Mediterranean States. The asylum seekers would be distributed among the member States according to a quota system. Hungary and the Slovak Republic requested the European Court of Justice to annul the Decision. The case was relevant due to the nature of the principle of solidarity implied and the context of the reform of the Common European Asylum System in which the judgment was adopted. The Court rejected the applications on the basis of technical and legal arguments rooted in the EU Law. However, the interpretation of the principle of solidarity was reduced to merely a symbolic status.

By Joana Abrisketa, Professor of Public International Law and International Relations at the University of Deusto and member of the Jean Monnet Chair in EU Economic and Legal integration for people.