At a Crossroads? Reflections on the Right to Asylum for European Union Citizens
Refugee Survey Quarterly, 2014 Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 54–83
30 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2017
Date Written: October 30, 2013
The presumption that all EU Member States are safe countries of origin constitutes a vital part of the self-image of the European Union. Consequently, the possibilities open to an EU citizen seeking asylum in another EU country are limited. The human rights record of certain Member States, however, reveals that for some of their citizens this image is not a true representation. Perhaps the most obvious example, though not the only one, is the plight of the Roma minority. Based on an analysis of the right to asylum and its limited scope within the EU context, this article contends that the predicament of the Roma, as well as recent political developments in Europe (where in certain countries the rule of law and fundamental rights have been constrained), provides grounds for challenging such a presumption of safety and for recognizing that EU citizens could have valid claims for protection. The article goes on to explore various alternatives for safeguarding EU citizens. It asserts that recent case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Union Court of Justice on third-country nationals in so-called Dublin cases opens up fresh possibilities for asylum claims by EU citizens to be assessed thoroughly rather than being routinely dismissed as ‘manifestly unfounded’.
Keywords: right to asylum, EU citizens, Roma, presumption of safety, asylum seekers, refugee
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