Greece / Council of State / 689/2021

Minister for Migration and Asylum against the Appeals Authority (Ministry of Asylum and Migration)
Policy area
Asylum and migration
Deciding body type
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding body
Council of State
Decision date
  • Greece / Council of State / 689/2021

    Key facts of the case: 

    The case concerns a petition for annulment submitted by the Minister for Migration and Asylum against a decision issued by the Appeals Authority (a body under the competence of the Migration and Asylum Ministry, which is responsible for examining, at second instance, quasi-judicial appeals against 1st degree decisions issued by the Asylum Service).

    The Minister requested the annulment of the Authority’s decision granting the request of an applicant for international protection to resume the asylum process concerning him. The process has been previously interrupted by decision of the local Asylum Office. The Minister requested the annulment of the decision as regards its part which reverted the case to the local Asylum Office, due to the fact that no personal interview was conducted. The Minister based his complaint on the domestic provision of art. 105 of Law 4636/2019 on international protection (which partly implements Directive 2013/32/EU). The provision expressly precludes the Appeals Authority from ever reverting a case back to the Asylum Office, even if it is to conduct a personal interview. Instead, the Authority must retain the case and conduct the interview if needed.

    The Council of the State took charge of the case through the “pilot” procedure, which allows it to adjudicate on matters of general importance and issue decisions which will serve as a guide on all similar future cases.

    Key legal question raised by the Court: 

    The key legal question raised concerned the interpretation of the relevant domestic legal framework in relation to article 46 of Directive 2013/32/EU (Procedures Directive). Specifically, the Court was called to decide on whether the procedure established by law 4636/2019, whereby the Appeals Authority must retain and examine the asylum claim, including conducting the personal interview, adequately implements the safeguards enshrined in the Directive with regards to the interview, and whether it is an effective remedy in this regard, in accordance with art. 46 of the Directive and 47 of the Charter.


    Outcome of the case: 

    The Court found that the domestic procedure does not contravene the relevant provisions of EU law as interpreted by the CJEU. Specifically, it stated that it is at the discretion of the Greek legislator to enact a provision with the above-mentioned content, as Greek law adequately fulfils the requirements and guarantees enshrined in the Directive as regards the personal interview of applicants for international protection, including privacy and confidentiality, interpretation, the possibility to have the interview conducted by a person of the same sex, etc. In addition, the law provides for the initial and continuous training of the Appeals Authority’s members, one of which is nominated by the UNHCR, so that they are fully capable to assess all relevant claims of the interviewee.

    In light of the above, the Court annulled the contested act, ordered the Appeals Authority to proceed with the full examination of the asylum claim and conduct a personal interview if necessary.

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter

    11. Organizational and procedural issues related to the submission and examination of requests for international protection were regulated by Law 4375/2016 (Government Gazette AD 51), its third part (articles 33 to 67) transposing Directive 2013/32 / EU into Greek law. This law stipulates in particular (article 1 par. 2 b) that the Asylum Service, which is composed of the Central Asylum Service and the Regional Offices (Regional Asylum Offices and Independent Asylum Units), is responsible for receiving and examining requests for international protection. In order to ensure the right to a fair trial guaranteed by Article 46 of the Directive, ie the right to effective judicial protection under Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the Independent Appeals Authority was set up, composed of two administrative court judges and a third member nominated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; the established appeal procedure against the acts of the first instance asylum bodies takes place before the above-mentioned Appeals Authority (articles 4, 5 and 61 et seq. of Law 4375/2016, see also Council of the State (grand chamber) 2347/2017, paragraph 20). The same law further provided that (a) the examination of an application for international protection is terminated in the event of a tacit waiver (Article 47 (2)); a tacit waiver is presumed where the asylum seeker does not comply with their legal obligation to appear before the competent authorities (Article 47 par. 3 (e)), c) the applicant has the right, at his request, within nine months from the date of issuance of the decision to halt the asylum process, to request the Authority that took the relevant decision to resume the process, if he substantiates with concrete evidence that the decision was issued under circumstances beyond his control (Article 47 par. 4), d). The asylum seeker may appeal the decision rejecting the request for the resumption of the process before the competent Independent Appeals Authority (Article 61 par. 1 (cc)), e) the procedure in the Appeals Authorit is, as a rule, written, but there are also cases in which the summoning of the interested party to an oral hearing becomes mandatory (Article 62 par. 1) , and f) only in the event that an appeal is granted against an act rejecting an application for resumption, the case may be referred back to the first instance (Article 62 par. 9).

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter (original language)

    11. Επειδή, οργανωτικά και διαδικαστικά ζητήματα σχετικά με την υποβολή και την εξέταση των αιτημάτων διεθνούς προστασίας ρύθμισε ο ν. 4375/2016 (ΦΕΚ Α΄ 51), με το τρίτο μέρος του οποίου (άρθρα 33 έως 67) μεταφέρθηκε στο ελληνικό δίκαιο η ανωτέρω οδηγία 2013/32/ΕΕ. Με τον νόμο αυτόν ορίσθηκε ειδικότερα (άρθρο 1 παρ. 2 στοιχ. β) ότι αρμόδια για την παραλαβή και εξέταση των αιτημάτων διεθνούς προστασίας και την απόφανση επ’ αυτών είναι η Υπηρεσία Ασύλου, η οποία συγκροτείται από την Κεντρική Υπηρεσία Ασύλου και τις Περιφερειακές Υπηρεσίες Ασύλου (Περιφερειακά Γραφεία Ασύλου και Αυτοτελή Κλιμάκια Ασύλου). Προκειμένου δε να διασφαλισθεί το κατοχυρούμενο από το άρθρο 46 της οδηγίας «δικαίωμα πραγματικής προσφυγής ενώπιον δικαστηρίου», ήτοι δικαίωμα αποτελεσματικής δικαστικής προστασίας κατά το άρθρο 47 του Χάρτη Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, ιδρύθηκαν οι Ανεξάρτητες Επιτροπές Προσφυγών της Αρχής Προσφυγών, οι οποίες συγκροτούνται από δύο μέλη δικαστικούς λειτουργούς των τακτικών διοικητικών δικαστηρίων και από ένα τρίτο μέλος υποδεικνυόμενο από την Ύπατη Αρμοστεία του Οργανισμού Ηνωμένων Εθνών για τους πρόσφυγες· ενώπιον των ως άνω Επιτροπών Προσφυγών ασκείται η προβλεπομένη ενδικοφανής προσφυγή κατά των πράξεων των πρωτοβαθμίων οργάνων (άρθρα 4, 5 και 61 επομ. ν. 4375/2016, βλ. και ΣτΕ Ολομ. 2347/2017, σκέψη 20). Ο ίδιος νόμος προέβλεψε, περαιτέρω, ότι α) διακόπτεται η εξέταση της αίτησης διεθνούς προστασίας σε περίπτωση σιωπηρής ανάκλησής της (άρθρο 47 παρ. 2), β) θεωρείται ότι υπάρχει σιωπηρή ανάκληση της αίτησης διεθνούς προστασίας όταν ο αιτών δεν συμμορφώθηκε με την κατά τον νόμο υποχρέωσή του να εμφανισθεί ενώπιον των αρμόδιων Αρχών (άρθρο 47 παρ. 3 στοιχ. ε), γ) ο αιτών έχει δικαίωμα με αίτησή του, εντός εννέα μηνών από την ημερομηνία έκδοσης της πράξης διακοπής, να ζητήσει από την Αρχή που έλαβε την σχετική απόφαση, την συνέχιση της διαδικασίας εξέτασης της υπόθεσής του, εφόσον θεμελιώνει με συγκεκριμένα στοιχεία ότι η πράξη διακοπής εκδόθηκε υπό συνθήκες ανεξάρτητες από την θέλησή του (άρθρο 47 παρ. 4), δ) κατά της απόφασης, με την οποία απορρίπτεται αίτηση συνέχισης εξέτασης της υπόθεσης, μπορεί να ασκηθεί προσφυγή ενώπιον της αρμόδιας Ανεξάρτητης Επιτροπής Προσφυγών (άρθρο 61 παρ. 1 στοιχ. γ΄), ε) η διαδικασία στην Επιτροπή Προσφυγών είναι, κατά κανόνα έγγραφη, προβλέπονται, όμως, και περιπτώσεις, στις οποίες καθίσταται υποχρεωτική η κλήση του ενδιαφερομένου σε προφορική ακρόαση (άρθρο 62 παρ. 1), και στ) στην περίπτωση και μόνον που γίνει δεκτή προσφυγή κατά πράξης περί απορρίψεως αίτησης συνέχισης επιτρέπεται η αναπομπή της υπόθεσης στον πρώτο βαθμό (άρθρο 62 παρ. 9).