The EU's Migration Control in the Central Mediterranean: The protection from refoulement in situations of interception on the high seas
Sammanfattning: The use of the term ‘refugee crisis’ does already suggest a scenario that apparently, the European Union was not expecting and consequently, was not prepared to tackle. As the mass influx of asylum seekers arrived in Europe in 2015, the national reception systems, especially in states of first arrival such as Greece and Italy were disrupted, and the Common European Asylum System was put to a test. Reluctant to assume the legal responsibility for further asylum seekers arriving at the Union’s external borders, the EU and its member states responded with extraterritorial migration control measures, such as the interception of vessels in the Mediterranean Sea, to prevent more people from arriving at Europe’s border. This thesis addresses the resulting legal situation in the Mediterranean and defines and analyzes new challenges to the protection from refoulement in situations of interception on the high seas. It thereby illustrates certain shortcomings within the Common European Asylum System and demonstrates the consequences for the protection from refoulement. The thesis shows that current migration control practices of the EU and its members states in the Mediterranean cause gaps in the protection of the non-refoulement principle and that, as a consequence, migrants and refugees being intercepted on the high seas are left without sufficient protection from refoulement. It thereby identifies certain flaws in the Common European Asylum System and in its implementation as an underlying cause of the insufficient protection from refoulement. The thesis argues that only a European Union and a Common European Asylum System based on solidarity and shared responsibility would be able to ensure compliance with the principle of non-refoulement and guarantee its protection for migrants and refugees on their way to and arriving in Europe.
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