120 Students and 14 Days to Study the EU Migration Law

November 4, 2022
By Alaaddin Uslu

More than 120 students from different parts of the European Union, met in Brussels to study the legal framework of EU Migration Law and EU agencies such as Frontex and the EU Asylum Agency. For 14 intense days, they experienced 43 hours of lectures, 10 hours of seminars and 17 hours of panel discussions with experts in their field from all over Europe. Our practitioner Alaaddin Uslu had the opportunity to join.

Starting by comparing the Dublin Regulation and the Temporary Protection mechanism, which were activated for the very first time with the refugee influx from Ukraine, it was interesting to learn that the temporary protection mechanism includes a lot of principles that oppose the Dublin Regulation. For instance, a free choice model rather than the coercive model of Dublin. The temporary protection mechanism also proposes the principle of solidarity and, it is thought provoking to note, it uses expat communities as a resource for helping in the reception system. This is totally absent in the Dublin model.

The Dublin Regulation does not even allow applicants to reunite with their expat communities. And yet, although the Temporary Protection mechanism might give us hope for future improvements of the EU refugee policy, there are many unanswered questions.

These include:

  • the sponsored return mechanism of Dublin,
  • the balance of the solidarity mechanism between member states, and
  • the quotas that are envisioned in the Dublin Regulation.

This creates scepticism that certain refugees are subject to exceptionalism. As Prof. Francesco Maiani, a consultant for Dublin Regulation in the EU Parliament, said: “The situation is exceptional in terms of political discourse. It is premature to say, everything will change.”

A lecture by Dr Constantin Hruschka from the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in Munich, Germany on the distribution of asylum seekers among member states was very useful in helping to understand the legal logic behind the Dublin III Regulation and solidarity mechanism that envisioned in the Temporary Protection Mechanism.

Reception begin from the moment of application
We went on to learn about the European definition of refugee and subsidiary protection and its implementation. A lecture by Prof. Lieneke Slingenberg, from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands, was vital for understanding the reception conditions for asylum seekers. As Prof. Slingenberg mentioned in her lecture, provisions related to the reception conditions of asylum seekers begin from the moment of application.

Any asylum seekers who are not registered in the system are not entitled to housing, food, and clothing. The related EU Directive didn’t solve this problem; it could in fact cause problems, as we witnessed in the photos of asylum seekers sleeping on the roads or in front of the asylum registration building.

the premise that migration data may be accessed by police authorities blurs the boundaries between migration and security.

A lecture by Dr Niovi Vavoula, from the Queen Mary University of London, the UK, about European Databases, such as SIS, EURODAC, VIS, EES, ETIAS and ECRIS was very important, as it is necessary to know how the EU collects data not only from third country nationals but also from EU citizens without their knowledge.

Interestingly, we have almost no case before the European Court of Justice about European databases, so we don’t know how to assess the proportionality of the rules. As Dr. Vavoula surmised, the premise that migration data may be accessed by police authorities blurs the boundaries between migration and security.

We studied the legal status of third-country nationals and their integration process with Prof. Diego Acosta of the University of Bristol, UK. We looked for possible institutional answers inst for what integration can mean in legal procedures.

Last but not least, we had a lecture by Prof. Tiene Strik, a member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands, regarding family reunification. It was a relief to learn that family reunification as a mechanism functions relatively smoothly in the EU.

A clear will to make it better
My major takeaway from this summer school is that, although there are lots of problems when it comes to asylum and immigration in general in Europe, it is clear that there is a will to make it better.

There are many ideas waiting to be implemented, including legal migration policies, skilled labour directives, and heated debates about which visa policy fits best for the EU. We know that migration and the overall movement of people are as old as humanity itself. I believe we will have a brighter future, as there are many people striving for this.

Summer School of EU Migration and Asylum Law and Policy

Summer School of EU Migration and Asylum Law and Policy is organized annually by Odysseus Network, founded in 1999 by Philippe de Bruycker, Professor at the Institute for European Studies of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), with the financial support of the European Commission. Odysseus Network is an academic network for legal studies on immigration and asylum in Europe. Alaaddin Uslu, a practitioner within the AWoN network and member of the AWoN interim board, got a scholarship to participate in this year’s summer school.