Seminar on the Common European Asylum System in Tirana

From 21 to 22 April 2016, a seminar was held in Tirana by invitation of the IRZ on the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) for scientific employees of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Albania. This was the first seminar of its kind and it was led by Professor Dr. Jan Bergmann, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg.

In his opening speech, Aleksander Toma, Director of Cabinet for the President of the Constitutional Court of Albania, thanked the IRZ and Professor Dr. Bergmann for their long-term commitment. In her welcome address, the Deputy Ambassador for the Federal Republic of Germany in Albania, Anke Holstein, gave a brief overview of the current situation regarding the refugee problem, from the point of view of the German Embassy in Tirana. The topic of the seminar is also of special interest to the German Embassy, and the seminar was only made possible thanks to financial support from the German Federal Foreign Office.

Professor Bergmann, who has many years of experience as an asylum judge and is co-editor of a leading paper on immigration and asylum law, began his lecture with some current figures on the asylum process in Europe. He compared developments in Germany with those happening in the rest of Europe and referred to past European policies on asylum programmes, as well as the current primary legislation. Using highly illustrative examples from real-life situations, he explained the various stages of asylum law, from application for asylum to the residence permit or deportation, and the EU directives and regulations that form the basis of this process. During the rest of the seminar, the principles behind the Common European Asylum System were discussed, before the implementation of the default system according to the German example was explained to the participants in the seminar during a second stage. The seminar was rounded off with a demonstration of the options for solving the reform of the Dublin system and of the CEAS and with an overview of existing European initiatives for solving the Balkan and Mediterranean issue.

This seminar offered employees of the Constitutional Court of Albania a unique opportunity to learn about the European asylum system from the point of view of a German administrative lawyer with relevant practical experience. The Republic of Albania may not yet belong to the EU, but it might find itself confronted with similar problems in the foreseeable future, once the Balkan route has been closed. During the two-day seminar, plenty of interesting discussions took place between the speakers and the audience concerning the current refugee problem, in particular fellow Albanians, who as a general rule are not recognised as persecuted refugees in Germany, since most of them left their country for economic reasons. The issue of "blood feuds" and how they are dealt with in asylum law was also the subject of controversial and detailed debate.

Two-day Albanian-German seminar in Tirana

A seminar was held in Tirana on 8 and 9 October 2015 for employees of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Albania. The seminar covered dealing with the media, constitutional process law and protecting human rights.

Professor Jan Bergmann, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Stuttgart, was one of the speakers.

Whilst last year's seminar focussed on the protection of fundamental rights by administrative and constitutional courts according to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, this year's seminar was about encouraging the active handling of the media by the constitutional court. To achieve this, Professor Bergmann outlined the code of practice of the German Federal Constitutional Court.

On a constitutional process level, the seminar also covered legal protection against standards and the current decisions made by the ECJ and the ECtHR, which were the subject of lively discussions amongst participants.

Once again this year, the event was marked by intense dialogue between lecturers and the employees of the constitutional court.