CJEU: Member States not obliged to grant “humanitarian visas”

In the case of  X and X v. Belgium, the European Court of Justice has ruled that EU Member States’ embassies and consulates do not have an obligation to grant so-called “humanitarian visas” to people who claim to be in danger of being persecuted in their countries of origin. With this decision, the Court has overruled the legal opinion issued by its Advocate General  Paolo Mengozzi.

Critics had feared that a decision on the terms proposed by Mengozzi would have meant to de facto open the EU for unlimited immigration. Torture and group-based persecution is common in many countries outside Europe, and if an abstract risk of persecution were sufficient for being entitled to an unlimited right to migrate to the EU, the  situation could quickly spin out of control.