Via AIDA – On 22 September 2017, the Greek Council of State, the highest administrative court of the country, delivered two long-awaited judgments (2347/2017 and 2348/2017). The rulings concern actions for annulment brought against: three Ministerial Decisions regulating the Independent Appeals Committees as second-instance asylum authorities following the 2016 asylum reforms; and Decision 4159/2016 of the Third Independent Appeals Committee of 8 September 2016, upholding the rejection by the Regional Asylum Office of Lesvos of an asylum application of a Syrian national as inadmissible on the basis that Turkey was a “safe third country” in his case.
The latter issue is closely connected to the overhaul of the Greek asylum procedure following the EU-Turkey statement of 18 March 2016. Greece introduced a fast-track border procedure through Law (L) 4375/2016 on 3 April 2016, which it applies to newly arrived asylum seekers remaining in Reception and Identification Centres on the Eastern Aegean islands to examine among others the applicability of the “safe third country” concept vis-à-vis Turkey in their case.
The following sections briefly summarise the reasoning of the court in relation to: (1) the legality of the fast-track border procedure, including the involvement of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO); and (2) the interpretation of the “safe third country” concept. Continue reading at AIDA