Τraining seminar titled “Asylum and Refugee Rights: Recent European Developments” May 2019

The training seminar titled “Asylum and Refugee Rights: Recent European Developments”, organized by the Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence at the University of Athens, in the framework of the “European Migration Governance: External Dimensions” European Programme, was successfully completed on Monday 20 May 2019 in cooperation with the European Public Law Organization (EPLO).

The seminar consisted of five thematic units which were held on 6, 9, 13, 16 and 20 May.

In the first session titled “International Refugee Protection” Mrs. Calliope Stephanaki, lawyer and UNHCR representative, talked about the refugee definition, the subsidiary international protection, and the Global Compact on Refugees; while Ms Erika Kalantzi, lawyer and Deputy Coordinator of the European Network of Asylum Lawyers, in her presentation, discussed about the rights of international protection seekers and recognized refugees.

The second session on “Common European Asylum System (CEAS): Creation – Evolution – Law Application” was presented by Mr Stathis Poularakis, lawyer with specialization in asylum and immigration issues, and Mrs. Emmanoula Papadopoulou, Associate Professor at the Law School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. The first speaker discussed the recent developments of the CEAS starting from the Schengen Treaty and continuing until the Dublin II Regulation. Subsequently, the second speaker presented the reasons for the revision of the system in 2013 (“Dublin III”) and the legislative texts of primary and secondary Union law constituting CEAS today. The session was completed with a second presentation by Mr. Poularakis and his analysis of the “administrative arrangement” for the immigration that Germany and Greece have agreed on.

The attempted reform of the CEAS was the subject of the third session of the seminar. The invited speakers were Mrs. Lina Kouskouna, Associate Professor at the Law School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Mr. Markos Karavias, Director of the Asylum Service, and Mr. Aristides Psarras, Head of the Athens Office of the European Commission’s Migration Management Support Unit. The main topics presented, and further analysed, were the European Commission’s reform proposal, the position of the Member States, with an emphasis on Greece, the current negotiations and the future of the project.

The fourth session was devoted to the application of refugee and asylum law to particular groups of people. Mrs Chrysa Tsouka, Associate Professor, Law School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, talked about the implementation of international, EU and national provisions on international protection and asylum. Ms. Sotiria Kasnakoudi, Hellenic Ministry for Migration Policy representative, focused on the issues raised by the phenomenon of statelessness in the application of refugee and asylum law. The issues of sexual orientation and gender identity in the application of refugee and asylum law were the subject of Ms. Katerina Komita’s, Advocate – Coordinator of the Program for the Relief of Torture Survivors “Prometheus” presentation. While, Mrs Theodora Gazi, lawyer and Data Protection Officer at the Danish Council on Refugees (DRC Greece), spoke on the topic of protection of personal data during the offer of humanitarian aid to Greece.

The speakers of the final seminar examined the enforcement of refugee and asylum law by national, European Union and international courts. Mrs Katerina Koutsopoulou Lower (trial)-Court Judge in Administrative Courts presented the legal case of the CoE while Mrs Maria Miheologiannaki, Legal Advisor at the Lower Administrative Courts, and employee at the EU Law Department of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, talked about the jurisprudence of the EU judiciary. Finally, Mrs. Eleni Micha, Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Law, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, examined the legal framework of the European Court of Human Rights.

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