Silence is not (Always) Golden: A Criticism of the ECJ’s Approach towards Integration Conditions for Family Reunification
European Journal of Migration and Law 23 (2021) 176–201.
18 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2021
Over the past 20 years, integration duties imposed on third-country nationals have spread and become more rigid in EU Member States. They increasingly restrict the conditions for obtain-ing residence permits as well as the benefit of social rights. These integration conditions take on singular forms and raise particular issues in relation to the Association Agreement concluded between the European Union and Turkey, in particular with regard to so-called ‘stand-still clauses’. The present article begins from the A v. Udlændinge-og Integrationsministeriet case and criticises the Court’s silence about the elephant in the room on the issue of integration conditions towards third-country nationals: racial and/or ethnic discrimination. The case is about an integration condition imposed by the Danish Government as a prerequisite for a ‘family reunion’ residence permit for the spouse of a Turkish worker: the spouses must prove that they have a stronger link with Denmark than with Turkey. The solution adopted by the Court of Justice in striking down this integration condition is not surprising. However, its reasoning suggests more tolerance – or even laxity – about the way the concept of integration is used by the Member States. This situation is problematic insofar as these integration conditions, the very principle of which is questionable per se, conceal increasingly discriminatory and exclusionary measures which the Court is reluctant to denounce, as opposed to the Euro-pean Court of Human Rights.
Keywords: EU-Turkey Association Agreement, integration, discrimination, standstill clause, immigration
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