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Refugees: legal regulation

In the light of the ongoing war in Ukraine, in connection with which a large number of refugees arrived in Estonia, the following questions have become relevant: who is a refugee and what does it mean to apply for international protection, what is the application of temporary protection, what does refugee status and subsidiary protection status mean, etc. Further.

In order to bring at least some clarity to these issues, the article provides a brief overview of the formation and development and development of the international protection of aliens.

Refugee is an old way of behaving

Refugee - leaving one's native places - has long been an existing way of action in the event of a significant threat to a person and his loved ones. Previously, this happened, rather, within the boundaries of one state and one people. At the same time, the reasons for the flight could be very different, whether it was an unintentional  committing a crime or coming into conflict with the ruler.

With the development of statehood and the aggravation of (military) conflicts, refugees to foreign lands became more and more international. France can be considered a kind of pioneer during the Great French Revolution, when those people who did not want to fall under the guillotine, having economic means, fled from France to neighboring countries.

The First and Second World Wars had a significant impact on the development of processes related to refugees.

European Union regulation

With regard to the development of the right to asylum in European Union (EU) law, the Maastricht Treaty, which entered into force in 1993, established an institutional framework for asylum matters at the European Union level. The leading role of the bula was assigned to the Council of the European Union, which was supposed to involve the European Commission and inform the European Parliament about its activities. The European Court of Justice lacked jurisdiction in asylum matters.

The Treaty of Amsterdam, which entered into force  in 1999, empowered the EU institutions to develop asylum legislation, providing for a five-year transitional period during which the European Commission and EU Member States had a shared right of initiative, and the Council of Europe, after consulting the Parliament, had to take decisions unanimously. The European Court of Justice has been given competence to administer justice in certain asylum cases. After a five-year transitional period, the Council of Europe could begin to take decisions on asylum issues by a qualified majority.

Between 1999 and 2004, the European Union introduced criteria and mechanisms for designating an EU Member State as responsible for examining asylum applications and established uniform minimum standards that EU Member States had to comply with when accepting asylum seekers. on granting asylum.

The Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force in 2009, provided for the development of a unified legal system relating to refugees, with the aim of establishing a unified asylum status, a unified subsidiary protection status, a common system of temporary protection, etc. in the EU Member States. Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the second chapter of Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, “Policy with regard to border control, asylum and immigration”, provides:

"When planning and implementing the policy of the union set out in this chapter, the principles of solidarity and responsibility, as well as the principle of equitable distribution of the financial burden among the EU Member States, are guided by the principles of fair distribution of the financial burden among the Member States. appropriate measures to implement these principles, if necessary."

In 2012 and 2013, a number of European Union legislative acts regulating issues related to migration policy came into force. For example:

- Directive 2011/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the requirements that third-country nationals and stateless persons must meet in order to obtain international protection and the requirements for a uniform status of refugees or persons eligible for subsidiary protection, and to the content of the protection provided;

- Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council No. 603/2013 on the establishment of the Eurodac system for the comparison of fingerprints;

- Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council No. 604/2013 establishing criteria and mechanisms for appointing an EU Member State responsible for examining applications for international protection submitted in another EU Member State by nationals of third  countries or persons without citizenship;

- Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing requirements for the admission of applicants for international protection;

- Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on general requirements for the procedure for granting and withdrawing international protection status.

Thus, issues of granting international protection to aliens are largely governed by the law of the European Union, and the Law on granting international protection to aliens, in force in the Republic of Estonia from 01.07.2006, is largely based on the law of the European Union.

Estonian law

On February 19, 1997, the Riigikogu of the Republic of Estonia decided to accede to the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol of January 31, 1967, and thus the Convention and the Additional Protocol are articles of Estonian law. Estonian legal space The Law on Granting International Protection to Aliens entered into force in 2006. In connection with Estonia's membership in the European Union, the EU's legal space directly applies to refugees and international protection issues, and the Republic of Estonia is obliged to adopt EU directives into its legal system. concerning the same area.

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