The European Court of Justice has given the go-ahead for simplified asylum request procedures in Italy, ruling that filing appeals do not necessarily need to be heard a second time. It also reiterated that asylum requests must be made in the first country of arrival, even in the case of massive migrant flows.

The EU court has given its approval to simplify asylum procedures for Italy. The requester, the judges ruled, will not necessarily have to be heard a second time, if in the initial phase they have been ''offered the chance to be heard in person; the minutes of the interview has been included in the court file; and the court has the right to decide to conduct another hearing if necessary''. 

Second hearing not obligatory

The sentence concerns an appeal at the Milan court against a rejection by the Territorial Commission to recognize asylum for a Mali citizen who arrived in Italy in 2015. In 2016, the Territorial Commission for Recognition of International Protection at the Milan prefecture (administrative procedure) had rejected the man's request since it ''had found the existence of merely economic reasons for the request and a lack of probable risks of persecution'' (administrative phase). The migrant had then appealed the rejection at the Milan Court (jurisdictional phase), which found the Malian's asylum request to be ''clearly without merit since it had been clearly ascertained that he had presented it due solely to his suffering severe poverty''. 

The Milan court then asked the EU Court whether, on the basis of EU law, the court could decide immediately - as provided for by Italian law in similar cases - or whether it was necessary to hold another hearing for the asylum seeker. 

Asylum must be requested in country of first entry 

Despite the extraordinary aspect of the migration crisis on the Balkan route, an EU court decision on Wednesday ruled that asylum requests will be examined by the country of entry and not that in which it is filed: the Dublin regulations are thus still in force. 

The EU court sentence was based on the cases of one Syrian and several Afghans who had entered Croatia from Serbia. Croatian authorities organized their transport to the Slovenian border to help them continue on to other EU states, where they could request international protection. The Syrian filed a request in Slovenia and the Afghans in Austria. However, Austria and Slovenia argued that since the refugees had entered through Croatia, due to Dublin III agreements, the requests would have to be examined by Croatia. 

EU judges upheld the argument and ruled that Croatia will have to ''examine the requests for international protection of those who crossed its border in mass in 2015-2016''. 

Re-transfers possible only if requested in first 3 months 

The EU Court of Justice ruled that an asylum seeker who has filed a request in an EU country that was not their point of entry can appeal this country's transfer request if it was not filed within three months. The case involves an Eritrean that landed in Italy and later went to Germany, where he asked for asylum. Berlin has requested a transfer but only after three months.

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