Bulgaria offers sufficient reception conditions for asylum-seekers

Cour Administrative d’Appel de Nantes, 4ème chambre, 19/07/2016, 15NT03704, Inédit au recueil Lebon

In the present case, the Administrative Court of Appeal of Nantes (Cour administrative d’appel de Nantes) was required to rule over a violation of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013.
X, an Afghan national, entered illegally in France after having lodged an asylum application in Bulgaria. The Prefect of La Manche ordered the transfer of X to Bulgarian authorities responsible to examine his application. X challenged the prefectural decree before the Administrative court of Caen (Tribunal administratif de Caen). Having not succeeded, X lodged an appeal before the Administrative Court of Appeal of Nantes alleging a violation of Articles 3, 4 and 5 of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013.

The Administrative Court of Appeal dismissed the claim.
Concerning the risk of inhuman or degrading treatment in case of return in Bulgaria, the Administrative Court of Appeal noted that the presumption according to which a State member to the ‘Dublin’ mechanism complied with Article 4 of EU Charter on Fundamental Rights could be revered in case of systematic failures. Therefore, another State could declare itself responsible to examine the asylum application by application of Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013. The Administrative Court of Appeal also clarified that in April 2014 the UN High Commissioner for Refugees suspended its early recommendation suspending the transfer of asylum seekers to Bulgaria and expressed concerns only concerning some vulnerable groups, to which X did not belong.
Concerning the procedural irregularities, the Administrative Court of Appeal considered that a violation of Article 4, concerning the right of information related to the application of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013, could not be invoked against a transfer decision, since it could only directly affect a decision refusing a temporary residency permit to asylum seekers. The Administrative court of appeal also found that the personal interview was conducted by a ‘qualified person’ within the meaning of Article 5 and that X could provide information relevant to his personal situation, notwithstanding the circumstances that the interview report seemed to be already filled in.

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