Migration related restrictions by the EU member states in the aftermath of the 2015 refugee “crisis” in Europe: what did we learn?
The article explores the actual and potential negative effects of selected restrictive measures undertaken by the European Union Member States on the protection of asylum seekers and refugees in Europe and its near vicinity, and the lessons learned from the post-2015 migration and refugee ‘crisis’ in the EU. The article aims to provide a legal assessment of these measures and their consequences from the perspective of international and EU law. The selected restrictive measures employed by the Member States in relation to or post-2015 refugee ‘crisis’ that are analysed in the article, relate to restrictions in the area of border controls: reintroduction of Schengen control at EU internal borders; physical barriers built along the borders of EU Member States and closure of external borders; other restrictions through legislative changes related to fast-track procedures and the increased use of detention. The research demonstrates that the restrictive measures analysed have already caused and will raise concerns resulting in legal actions at national, as well as European courts, the latter being far less favourable to accepting the arguments of “unexpected migration flow”, protection of national security or public order as justification for such measures. The article suggests that the lessons learned from the post-2015 refugee ‘crisis’ have been limited, and restrictive tendencies continue, including new trends in the upcoming revision of EU asylum legislation.
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