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Melanie Fink discusses landmark case against Frontex on the Dutch Nieuwsuur and in the Portuguese Jornal Expresso

On 6 September 2023, the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered its ruling in T-600/21 WS and Others v Frontex, dismissing a damages claim brought by a family of Syrian refugees against the EU agency Frontex.

After years of reports of fundamental rights violations at the EU’s external borders, this was the first case in which Frontex came under judicial scrutiny for its role therein. The case concerned a Syrian family that was returned to Turkey in violation of the principle of non-refoulement in a joint return operation between Greece and Frontex. With the action brought before the EU courts, the family sought compensation from Frontex for its role in the violation.

The Court dismissed the complaint. Melanie Fink discusses how the judgment fails to acknowledge the role and obligations of Frontex during joint operations. The restrictive approach chosen by the Court excludes almost any prospect of Frontex being accountable for breaches of its obligations, leaving applicants without any remedy against the conduct of the agency.

The entire Nieuwsuur report can be watched here (in Dutch). The interview with Jornal Expresso can be found here (in Portuguese). 

Together with Jorrit Rijpma, Melanie Fink also wrote a Blog Post on the case for EU Law Analysis that will be available here.

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