The Belgian Council of State delivered a judgment on 23 June 2016 removing Albania from the national list of safe countries of origin, following an action brought by Belgian NGOs. The country had been reinserted in the list on 11 May 2015, shortly after its removal by a previous decision of the Council of State on 7 May 2015, as discussed in the AIDA report on Belgium.
In its latest judgment, the Council of State noted that the recognition rates for asylum claims by Albanian nationals in Belgium call into question the presumption that there is a general and durable absence of persecution or risk of serious harm in Albania. This ruling comes amid discussion between EU institutions on a common EU list of safe countries of origin, proposed by the Commission on 9 September 2015. The Commission proposal includes Albania in this list.
A similar litigation saga is unfolding in France, where NGOs have again challenged the inclusion of certain countries in the safe countries of origin list. The Council of State removed Kosovo from the national list in October 2014 and is yet to deliver a judgment on the latest list of 9 October 2015, which includes Kosovo.
For more information, see:
- ECRE, Safe countries of origin: A safe concept? AIDA Legal Briefing No 3, September 2015
- AIDA, Common asylum system at a turning point: Refugees caught in Europe’s solidarity crisis, Annual Report 2014/2015