Migration Working Group on ‘EU Law and External Borders’

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from: 11:00
to: 12:30

The MWG will host the following presentations on the theme of ‘EU Law and external borders’:

‘Fundamental Rights Violations in the ‘Hotspots’: who is watching over them?’, presentation by Sarah Tas, EUI.
The European Commission introduced the EU ‘hotspot’ approach in its ‘European Agenda on Migration’ to provide operational support on the ground to Member States under particular and disproportionate migratory pressure at their external borders. These centres are put in place in a very sensitive environment significantly affecting fundamental rights and requiring urgency and secrecy. Consequently, criticism has arisen from various UN bodies, civil society organisations and scholars as to the violations of fundamental rights occurring in the hotspots, their lack of transparency and the unclear division of responsibilities between the different parties involved. The present contribution intends to evaluate whether monitoring mechanisms are in place to watch over the hotspots, and fundamental rights violations, occurring in Greece and in Italy.
The paper sheds light on the ‘hotspot approach’ and illustrates its complex and multi-level nature. In this regard, the monitoring of these hotspots follows the same multi-governance trajectory. The paper demonstrates that the situation in the hotspots worsened with the EU-Turkey deal and the pandemic. The focus on the European institution monitoring mechanisms shows that their role remains insufficient. Thus, it concludes that an enhanced and broader role needs to be given to political and social monitors.

‘Schengen Candidate States in the Waiting Room: Consequences for EU Border Management and Fundamental Rights Protection’, presentation by Henriet Baas, EUI.
More than a decade after their accession to the EU, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia continue to be trapped in what appears to be an eternal waiting room to enter the Schengen Area. Meanwhile, these Schengen Candidate States (SCSs) have started to apply a growing share of the actual Schengen acquis. Particularly in the field of external border management, current SCSs have turned into de facto Schengen members as they are charged with the same obligations as existing Schengen members. While SCSs’ borders with third countries are guarded as EU external borders, their frontiers with existing Schengen members, such as the Hungarian-Romanian and the Slovenian-Croatian border, constitute a border regime sui generis that seems only indirectly governed by EU law. This ambiguity translates into profound uncertainty regarding the application of the Charter and EU migration law instruments, such as the Return Directive, at these borders. The presented paper will shed a light on the current patchwork of EU border management regimes resulting from the particular position of SCSs. It furthermore addresses the undesirability of the lack of legal certainty at SCSs’ borders for the overall integrity of the Schengen Area, especially in view of ongoing fundamental rights concerns at its fringes


  • Michele Gigli, LL.M graduate (EUI), Research Associate, Centre for Judicial Cooperation, EUI.
  • Andreina de Leo, LL.M graduate in International Migration and Refugee Law (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), trainee (FRA)

Chair: Diego Ginés, EUI