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The European Union: "Fortress Europe"

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  1. The progressive intensification of the EU asylum and refugee policy
    1. The European Dimension
    2. The restrictions within the EU legal order
  2. The risks and disparities created by the current EU asylum and refugee policy
    1. The risks for the fundamental guarantees
    2. The discretionary power of the member state to implement EU law creates a huge discrepancy within the fortress Europe

Article 14 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ?Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution?. Europe has always attracted migrants and asylum seekers because it benefits from a reputation of high standards of living and as the birth place of the human rights.

Today, Europe harbors approximately 1,612,000 refugees and 240,000 asylum seekers. Due to these facts, Europe had a great influence in the development of Refugee and Asylum law.

The period of 2001-2004 has been critical for refugees and asylum seekers. With the increase and the unpredictability of the arrivals, the European Union (EU) has been focused on implementing measures to restrict the entry of such refugees. Those restriction measures has resulted in the gradual creation of what is now called ?Fortress Europe?. This appellation covers the fact that it is getting harder for asylum seekers to enter member states of the EU to escape persecution.

The ability of the EU to provide protection guarantees is questioned while it seems that a restrictive approach is being adopted in EU member states as part of a chain reaction throughout Western Europe.

Is it appropriate to consider that the current EU asylum and refugee policy fostered the conditions to create a ?Fortress Europe??

The current asylum policy in the 21st century focuses on rejection of refugees. These kinds of restrictions have become the common trend.

[...] The European Border Management Agency has a major role in border control. It ensures that people find it very difficult to cross borders. The way it operates is mainly hidden as there might exist a breach of the spirit of refugee and asylum law. In EU law, one of the main problems is the merging in practice as well as in the legal instruments between asylum and immigration. Immigration is about controlling who enters the EU whereas refugee law is about providing protection. [...]

[...] This CEAS should be able to ensure that despite the discretionary power of the states when they incorporate the EU law into their national legislation, they do not change the purpose of the act and its provisions. For example, it is not normal that if an asylum seeker enters one of the EU member states, he/she will not benefit from the same protection as he/she would have had in another member state. The UNHCR has been pointing out several malfunctions in the EU asylum system and has expressed strong reservations. [...]

[...] The role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has been set out by the Amsterdam Treaty. It is not always very clear. For example, the ECJ can interpret the human rights clause and apply ECHR rights and freedoms but is not bound to follow the ECTHR[13]. In the same treaty, the Title IV also takes into account the role of the ECJ as an interpretative guiding body especially in its article 68. Indeed, a member state's court ?from which there is no judicial remedy under national can make a reference to ECJ on Title IV matters. [...]

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