Netherlands: Council of State rules that Secretary of State must better justify return of beneficiaries of protection to Greece 

On 28 July 2021, the Council of State published two rulings (202005934/1 and 202006295/1) concerning the return to Greece of Syrian nationals granted international protection in Greece.

In both cases, after receiving international protection in Greece the applicants travelled to the Netherlands, where they applied again for protection. The Secretary of State declared their applications inadmissible as the applicants were already beneficiaries in another Member State. The applicants unsuccessfully appealed against these decisions to the District Court of The Hague.

The Council of State considered previous caselaw, which indicated the difficulties in accessing accommodation, health care and employment but nevertheless, beneficiaries of international protection could be returned to Greece. However, due to new developments indicated by the AIDA report including inter alia a significant decrease in the length of time that beneficiaries can remain in the reception for asylum applicants after obtaining their status and before finding independent accommodation, the Council of State found that in practice, Greece often cannot prevent beneficiaries from ending up in a situation in which they cannot meet their main basic needs.

In that regard, it held that the Secretary of State failed to properly justify its reliance on the principle of interstate trust with respect to Greece. Additionally, it failed to justify its finding that the living conditions that beneficiaries of international protection face upon return to Greece do not reach the threshold of severity stipulated by the CJEU's judgment in Ibrahim. The decision was annulled and remitted to the Secretary of State for reconsideration.

Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU team. ELENA Weekly Legal Update - 30 July 2021


This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.