CJEU - Judgment C-638/16 PPU X and X, 7 March 2017

Date: 
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

On 7 March 2017, the CJEU gave a preliminary ruling in case PPU X and X v.État Belge, which related to the interpretation of Article 25(1) of the Visa Code and the existence of an obligation under EU law to issue humanitarian visas. The Court disagreed with the opinion of AG Mengozzi, who had argued that the situation at stake fell under the Visa Code and that Member States were obliged under EU law to issue humanitarian visas when the refusal to issue such a document would expose the applicants to a violation of Article 4 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR).

The CJEU ruled that the situation at stake fell outside the scope of the Visa Code, even if formally submitted on the basis of its Article 25, because the purpose of the application (that is, to apply for asylum upon arrival to Belgium) differs from that of a short-term visa. Also, it argued that since no measure has been adopted, to date, by the EU legislature on the basis of Article 79(2)(a) TFEU (long-term visas and residence permits on humanitarian grounds), the present case fell solely within the scope of national law. For that reason, the provisions of the Charter do not apply in the case in question. Furthermore, the Court advanced that concluding otherwise would be tantamount to allowing third‑country nationals to lodge applications for visas on the basis of the Visa Code in order to obtain international protection in the Member State of their choice, which would undermine the general structure of the asylum system. MS remain, however, competent to issue humanitarian visas if national law so requires.



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Keywords: 
Visa