Asylum and human rights challenged by EU directives

Mr. Bivolaru is a Romanian refugee with asylum in Sweden. He has been persecuted since the Ceausescu regime. In June 2013, Romanian authorities issued a European Warrant of Arrest for him to be handed over for 6 years imprisonment. Swedish authorities are obliged simultaneously to protect the refugee and to take no part in the persecutions from which they protect him.

This reveals an alarming unsolved conflict between asylum rights and EU directives.

Are Human Rights sacrificed in EU to cover faulty practice?

Political asylum may be granted because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

Asylum is a fundamental right and granting it is an international obligation recognized in the 1951 Geneva Convention on the protection of refugees.

In the EU, an area of open borders and freedom of movement, countries share the same fundamental values and member states guarantee high standards of protection for refugees. But there can be no such thing as political asylum between EU member states.

Refugees from former totalitarian regimes should no longer fear persecution in their home countries.

However, on the 19th of June 2013 Romania asked Sweden to hand over a refugee to be imprisoned for 6 years. He has been persecuted since the Ceausescu regime and is protected by asylum in accordance with the Geneva Convention. EU directives leave no room to question the new EU member state’s warrant of arrest, so who will now protect the refugee from continued persecution?

The Bivolaru case is ongoing and highlights an alarming conflict between human right obligations and EU directives. The problem is evidently that Romania de facto does not meet the Copenhagen Criteria. The European Commission’s CVM reports continue to point out lack of judiciary reforms to secure the rule of law in Romania. But to state openly that one member state needs to protect the citizens of another member state would be impossible for the EU project.

Sweden was pushing for Romania to be included in EU 2007. The same year Sweden granted the Romanian refugee Mr. Bivolaru asylum from Romanian persecutions. Today Sweden and the EU face a dilemma; will human rights of the individual be sacrificed to cover faulty practices of a member state? Who is responsible?

We invite you to a thought provoking discussion that is new to the legislative history of the European Union.