Key facts of the case:
The present case deals with the procedure for examining an application for international protection. It was not disputed that Bulgaria was responsible for the Applicant’s request for international protection, lodged in Slovenia, and that the former has taken charge of. The Respondent relied on findings by UNHCR, EASO and one NGO in April 2014, claiming that the situation in Bulgaria concerning the accommodation for applicants for international protection had improved recently. The Respondent also received specific guarantees from the Bulgarian authorities about accommodation conditions. The Respondent also emphasized than no authority in the European Union has adopted early warning mechanism from Article 33 of the Dublin III Regulation in relation to Bulgaria. The Applicant argued in the procedure before the Respondent that his previous experience with accomodation conditions in Bulgaria during the return procedure against him as an irregular migrant there, and documentation, summaries, parts of reports and articles on the state of asylum system in Bulgaria, mainly before April 2014, amounted to a situation that prevented Slovenia to hand him over under the jurisdiction of Bulgaria, due to a risk of inhuman of degrading treatment there. The Respondent filed an action against the decision of the Respondent. He claimed that the conclusion of the Respondent that there are no systemic deficiencies in Bulgaria was wrong as EASO, in agreement with Bulgaria, pursues an operative plan that substantially exceeds mere observation and monitoring of the conditions in Bulgaria.
Outcome of the case:
The action was dismissed. According to the Administrative Court, the Respondent established correctly that accommodation, food and healthcare are provided to all applicants for international protection in Bulgaria and that the Applicant will be accommodated in an accommodation centre or unit governed by the state agency for refugees. It took into account his health situation and financial status, as well as the fact that healthcare workers provide healthcare services in centres (according to the competent Bulgarian authority on guaranteed conditions of accommodation). In addition, the Applicant did not invoke that accommodation conditions at the time were so severe that they did not guarantee minimal standards of human dignity in terms of living standards.
It is contended whether there are other obstacles in the second paragraph of Article 3 of the Dublin III Regulation regarding the transfer to Bulgaria. It provides that where it is impossible to transfer an applicant to the Member State primarily designated as responsible because there are substantial grounds for believing that there are systemic flaws in the asylum procedure and in the reception conditions for applicants in that Member State, resulting in a risk of inhuman or degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 4 of the EU Charter of fundamental rights (hereinafter: the Charter), the determining Member State shall continue to examine the criteria set out in Chapter III in order to establish whether another Member State can be designated as responsible.
From the documentation of the Respondent it is evident that the Applicant asserts that his surrender to Bulgaria would result in infringement of Article 4 of the Charter, on the basis of circumstances to which he was exposed in Bulgaria as an irregular migrant in the return procedure, and with summaries, parts of reports and articles, related to the asylum system in Bulgaria.