EU General Court ruling on EU-Turkey statement, 28 February 2017

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

On 28 February 2017, the EU General Court has given an order with regard to the action for annulment brought by two Pakistani nationals and an Afghan national against the EU-Turkey agreement in Cases T-192/16, T-193/16 and T-257/16 NF, NG and NM v. European Council. The General Court states that the deal cannot be challenged directly before EU courts, since it is not considered an act of an institution of the EU but rather an act of Member States during a meeting of Heads of State or Government with their Turkish counterpart, which the President of the European Council and President of the European Commission only attended informally. As a consequence, in the absence of any act of an institution of the EU, the legality of which it could review under Article 263 TFEU, the Court declares that it lacks jurisdiction to hear and determine the actions brought by the three asylum seekers.
The Court takes the view that the evidence, provided by the European Council and relating to the meetings on the migration crisis held successively in 2015 and 2016 between the Heads of State or Government of the Member States and their Turkish counterpart, shows that it was not the EU but its Member States, as actors under international law, that conducted negotiations with Turkey in that area, including on 18 March 2016.

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