ECJ to rule on humanitarian visas on March 7th

Thursday, 16 February 2017 16:35
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will rule in the Belgian case regarding visas for a Syrian family on Tuesday March 7th. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will rule in the Belgian case regarding visas for a Syrian family on Tuesday March 7th. © Belga
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will rule in the Belgian case regarding visas for a Syrian family on Tuesday March 7th.
The Secretary of State of Asylum and Immigration, Theo Francken, indicated this today (Thursday) on Twitter.

A spokesperson from the ECJ confirmed the information.

The prejudicial issue was referred to the Court by the Aliens Litigation Council (known as the “CCE”).

This is a high profile case, relating to a family of four who wish to seek asylum in Belgium by means of a humanitarian visa initally requested from the Belgian embassy in Beirut (in the Lebanon).

Theo Francken is refusing to issue the humanitarian visa, despite several court judgments on penalties in such cases. The CCE is requesting that the Court rule on how the Visa Code should be interpreted.

On February 7th, the Advocate General, Paolo Mengozzi, opposed the Secretary of State's reasoning. Mr Mengozzi maintains the following. Member states should issue a visa “when there are substantial grounds for believing that refusing it will risk those seeking international protection being subject to torture or inhumane or degrading treatment.”

The Advocate General's opinion does not bind the Court, but judges have tended in the past to follow his reasoning in the majority of cases. The current case has been examined by a court of 15 judges which is proof of its importance, if proof were needed.

Lars Andersen
The Brussels Times
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