Key facts of the case:
- In the context of proceedings to determine the Member State responsible for examining each of the asylum applications lodged by three third-country nationals who, in addition to being minors, are not accompanied and do not have any relatives legally resident in the territory of the European Union, the Court of Appeal refers to the Court of Justice a novel question concerning the interpretation of the second paragraph of Article 6 of the Dublin II Regulation (‘Regulation No 343/2003’ or ‘the Regulation’). (2)
- The criteria laid down in Regulation No 343/2003 to determine the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application may give rise to competing considerations which, as the present case shows, are not easily resolved by reference to the literal provisions of the Regulation, and it could almost be stated that the case under consideration has not been envisaged.
- While conscious of the difficulties of interpretation raised by the question referred, which are clearly evidenced in the conflicting views of those taking part in the present proceedings, I shall propose an all-inclusive interpretation of the second paragraph of Article 6 of Regulation No 343/2003, guided by the primary consideration of the child’s best interests (Article 24(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’)) and the objectives of clarity and speed which the Regulation advocates for the procedure for determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
In Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 of 18 February 2003 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national, when an applicant for asylum who is an unaccompanied minor with no member of his or her family legally present in another Member State has lodged claims for asylum in more than one Member State, the Member State responsible for determining the application for asylum pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 6 of the Regulation must, in principle, having regard to the minor’s best interests, and unless those interests require otherwise, be the Member State where the most recent application has been lodged.
Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: