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Executive Summary for April 13th

We review the latest refugee-related issues, including an Eritrean teenager winning a landmark family reunification case, a black list of Soros ‘mercenaries’ published in Hungary and Germany extending checks on its border with Austria.

Published on April 13, 2018 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Europe’s Top Court Rules That Teen Refugees Can Reunite With Families

Refugees who arrived in Europe as minors can apply to be reunited with their families. Europe’s top court ruled in favor of an Eritrean who arrived as a minor being permitted to bring her family to the Netherlands.

The ruling by the European Court of Justice sets an important precedent: 96,465 lone children applied for asylum in the European Union during the peak migration flows in 2015.

Dutch authorities had initially turned down the girl’s plea because her paperwork applying for family reunification was not filed before she turned 18. The ECJ ruled that her family could be granted temporary residence permits despite this.

Since the large-scale arrivals in 2015, several countries – including Germany and Sweden – have made it harder for scattered families to reunite on their soil. It is somewhat easier for unaccompanied minors to begin the process but often they do not have the legal advice or resources to begin the complex process promptly.

The ECJ ruled that applications can be made up to three months after obtaining refugee status. The court determined that Dutch authorities had breached E.U. law and said it was “entirely unforeseeable” that a minor would immediately understand whether they had the right to seek asylum for their families.

Blacklist of Soros Mercenaries Published in Hungary

A newspaper in Hungary has published a list of so-called “mercenaries” said to be supported by financier George Soros. The pro-government Figyelo ran more than 200 names it claims are paid to try to topple the government.

Those named include organizations that offer legal services to asylum seekers and an acclaimed investigative reporter who has published evidence of corruption among prime minister Viktor Orban’s family and inner circle.

Since taking power Orban has rewritten the constitution and placed key allies at the helm of all public media and almost all private media. He has also erected fences at the border, violated international asylum law and blamed all Hungary’s ills on the E.U. and the specter of mass migration.

Last month the Hungarian premier, referring to a “Soros mercenary army,” told state radio: “We know precisely who these people are, we know names … and how and why they are working to transform Hungary into an immigrant country.”

Andras Petho, an investigative journalist named by Figyelo, said his site was part-funded by a Soros foundation, but most of its revenue came from Hungarian readers. “We’ve never had any requests or expectations expressed about our reporting or stories by the Soros fund,” Petho said.

Germany Blames E.U. External Borders for Controls at Austrian Frontier

Germany has extended controls on its border with Austria for another six months. The checks represent a further delay in restoring the Schengen free movement zone in the E.U.

Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, said he supports free travel but that border controls must continue.

“Deficits in protection of the E.U. external borders and the scale of the illegal, secondary migration at the moment allow no other conclusion than that domestic border controls at the German-Austrian border remain necessary,” Seehofer said in a statement.

The Schengen zone was hailed as a great E.U. achievement but it has been in large part suspended since 2015 because of the flows of refugees and migrants.

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