Netherlands: District Court rules the ministerial regulation designating FYROM as a safe country of origin non-binding

Monday, September 19, 2016

On 19 September 2016, the District Court of The Hague ruled upon the designation of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as a safe country of origin.
The case relates to the asylum applications from a Macedonian family, members of the Romani community. The State Secretary of Security and Justice had dismissed their asylum claims as manifestly unfounded because FYROM was considered as a safe country of origin.
The Court deemed the following arguments of the State Secretary irrelevant for the designation of FYROM as a safe country of origin: (i) that Macedonian citizens are exempt from the visa obligation to be admitted to the European Union, (ii) that a number of other Member States have also designated FYROM as a safe country of origin, (iii) that FYROM has been granted candidate country status for membership of the European Union, and (iv) that the European Commission has proposed to place FYROM on the EU list of safe countries of origin.
Instead, the State Secretary should his safe country of origin assessment on relevant information from other Member States, EASO, UNHCR, Council of Europe and other relevant international organisations. Referring to the Advocate General’s opinion on the safe country of origin concept, the Court therefore observed that the designation of FYROM as a safe country of origin did not meet the legal requirements. The Court ruled the ministerial regulation, which indicated FYROM as a safe country of origin, non-binding. The appeal was granted.
Based on an unofficial translation.

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Country of origin information
Relevant Documentation
Safe country of origin