Article published on ‘Croatia and EU Asylum Law: Playing on the Sidelines or at the Centre of Events?’ by Iris Goldner Lang
This text discusses the most important recent developments in asylum law and practice in Croatia. It concentrates on the major legal and reality challenges in the context of the recent refugee influx and, in particular, on the legal consequence of the creation of the Western Balkans route by means of discussing the decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union in A.S. and Jafari and in Mengesteab. Despite the fact that in the past few years Croatia has been playing on the sidelines of EU asylum law and policy, the development of asylum law and practice in Croatia can only be understood in the context of EU asylum rules, the events on the Western Balkans route, and the tension between human- rights-related ambitions, on the one hand, and a combination of security concerns and xenophobic fears, on the other hand. For this reason, the challenges discussed in this paper are the result of the interaction among four factors: first, EU-level legislative harmonisation; second, Croatian national-level legal and practical issues; third, the refugee situation in the EU and on the Western Balkans route; and fourth, the legal implications of the Western Balkans route, as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union in A.S. and Jafari.