The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Wednesday that Austria was obliged to examine the asylum application of an Iranian national even though he had previously sought international protection in Bulgaria.
Majid Shiri, the asylum seeker, applied for international protection first in Bulgaria, and then in Austria.
Under current EU law – also known as the Dublin regulation – the member state which was the first point of entry into the EU – in this case Bulgaria – is obliged to handle asylum applications.
But the ECJ found that because Shiri was not transferred back from Austria to Bulgaria within a six-month time limit, the “responsibility is transferred automatically” to Austria.
The ruling is likely to have repercussions for a number of asylum cases lodged in 2015 and 2016 when a large number of people seeking international protection entered Europe.