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EU Rights

EU Rights in the Spotlight – October

In October the British Upper Tribunal took an unprecedented stand for the expansion of Surinder Singh decision to couples in durable relationships.

Mos Maiorum police operation, launched by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union with the cooperation of Frontex, was underway in Europe, causing an uproar concerning transparency and the legal basis behind it.

Finally, the European Ombudsman started an investigation regarding Frontex’ respect of human rights in its border control activities.

I. The decision in case IA/40868/2013 delivered by the British Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) on the 17th October 2014 is groundbreaking. The case deals with whether an unmarried partner in a durable decision is entitled to the benefits provided by the Surinder Singh case [1992] EUECJ C-370/90.

In the case brought forth at the British Upper Tribunal, the appellant is a Brazilian citizen who has been in a durable relationship with her British partner since 2008. They have two children together. Her partner exercised treaty rights from January 2010 until September 2011 (Spain) and for the next four months, until January 2012 in Portugal. During this time, the appellant lived with her partner in both countries. The Court decided to uphold the lower court decision in applying the Surinder Singh case as “limiting its [Surinder Singh case] application to married persons or civil partners is contrary to Directive 2004/38”.

The decision of the Upper Tribunal is important because the European Casework Instructions do not provide instructions for the application of Surinder Singh in the case of durable partners.

II. Between 13 and 26 October, Operation Mos Maiorum was underway throughout Europe. Mos Maiorum was promoted by the Italian presidency and the European Council to tackle illegal migrant trafficking, apprehend undocumented migrants and gather information from them.

The operation has been criticized for being inhuman and not respecting the Charter of Fundamental Rights, EU treaties and current directives. It has also been accused of lacking transparency and access to information; how are “illegal migrants” identified, for example? What are the processes they used to carry out this operation? The Council also did not clarify the role Frontex had during Mos Maiorum.

III. The European Ombudsman has started an investigation into how Frontex ensures the respect of fundamental human rights of migrants forced to return from the EU to their countries of origin. More than 10000 persons were returned between 2006 and 2013 through 209 operations.

 

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