The recent ruling by the European Union Court of Justice (CJEU) has injected new urgency into the ongoing debate over France's border practices, particularly at the Franco-Italian border. Against the backdrop of this legal development, the French government has introduced a bill addressing asylum and immigration, setting the stage for critical discussions on the nation's approach to border control.
Organizations, including Mille Babords, have lauded the CJEU's ruling as a crucial step towards ensuring that France aligns its practices with EU law, specifically emphasizing the need for adherence to the principles of the free movement within the Schengen Area.
Mille Babords, in collaboration with other advocacy groups, has been at the forefront of raising concerns about France's border practices. The group has consistently advocated for intervention from French courts, arguing that the actions taken by the country have resulted in the confinement and expulsion of individuals, stripping them of essential rights, including the right to seek asylum and access effective remedies.
The organization articulated its perspective, stating, "Since 2015, France has reestablished controls at its internal borders as an exception to the principle of free movement within the Schengen area. And since that date, it has locked up in makeshift buildings and pushed back foreign people to whom it refused entry into the territory, particularly at the Franco-Italian border."
The CJEU's ruling, as interpreted by Mille Babords, places specific obligations on EU Member States, outlining procedures for notifying individuals denied entry, providing effective remedies, facilitating voluntary repatriation, and ensuring that detention aligns with the conditions stipulated in the "Return" directive.
Despite the CJEU's unequivocal stance, Mille Babords' report indicates that observations by advocacy groups suggest that border practices at the Franco-Italian border have seen minimal change. Allegedly, facial checks at authorized crossing points persist, and the continuation of "refusal of entry" procedures raises concerns about the lack of proper examination or individual assessments.
The report emphasizes that both adults and minors face detention without the ability to request asylum, challenge confinement measures, or access legal representation. Curiously, border police reportedly clarified that no directive had been issued to them following the CJEU's decision, prompting questions about the practical implementation and enforcement of the court's ruling.
"Because France persists in its refusal to comply with EU law, illegal practices persist, and dozens of people continue, daily, to be victims of the violation of their fundamental rights." - Mille Babords
Despite the CJEU's clear directive, the report anticipates that the Council of the State may not consider it, potentially allowing criticized border practices to persist, casting a shadow on the prospects of immediate reform. The intersection of legal decisions, government policy, and practical enforcement underscores the complexity of addressing and rectifying challenges within the realm of border control and asylum policies.
By fLEXI tEAM