Journal article

Publication details

The refugee crisis and the executive: On the limits of administrative discretion in the Common European Asylum System
in journal: German Law Journal

Appears in this special issue:
Constitutional Dimensions of the Refugee Crisis

Volume number:
Issue number:
Release year: 2016
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Author(s) details

Mattias Wendel

Publication description

Link to the publication on the Publisher’s catalogue
Dublin System, Refugee Crisis, sovereignty clause, ceas
While the Dublin System was meant to create a clear and fair division of responsibilities for the examination of applications for international protection, the recent refugee crisis highlighted the extent to which normative aspirations and political realities can diverge. That said, the Dublin System does allow for a certain degree of flexibility: By exercising the discretionary right to assume responsibility under the so-called “sovereignty clause” of Article 17, paragraph 1 of the Dublin III Regulation, Member States can examine asylum applications even when they would not formally have jurisdiction for doing so according to the criteria established by the Dublin System. Germany has relied upon this right extensively during the refugee crisis. Against this backdrop, the following contribution1 analyzes the reasons for, and limits of, multi-level administrative discretion in the Common European Asylum System. It argues that when a Member State exercises the right to assume responsibility in a sweeping manner, i.e. in hundreds of thousands of cases, it runs the risk of overstretching the legal limits of its discretionary powers. National administrative bodies can only invoke the right to assume responsibility insofar as this does not amount to gamechanging decisions by the executive or unilateral decision-making without transnational coordination – particularly when such decisions have severe transnational consequences.