Spain's "hot returns" ruled legal

Spain is allowed to continue summarily deporting migrants from Morocco who try to cross the border into its exclaves of Melilla and Ceuta under a ruling delivered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday. Two refugees who were transferred from Melilla back to Morocco without being given a chance to explain their circumstances in 2013 in a practice known as "hot returns" had brought the case before the court.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Ruling enables push-backs

The Süddeutsche Zeitung takes a different view, saying that the ruling ignores the harsh reality refugees face:

“This ruling affects people who urgently need Europe's protection to survive. According to the logic of the ruling, they should have a real chance and access to a reliable official who will examine their concerns. But that is hard to guarantee. There are too many possibilities for states to block this path for refugees, for example by cooperating with non-European partners. The ruling from Strasbourg will further encourage the sometimes brutal practice of deporting refugees. With such 'push-backs' Europe protects itself from those who need its protection.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Even an open Europe needs borders

For the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in contrast, the verdict is understandable:

“According to the ruling this was not a case of forbidden collective expulsion because the two men from Mali and Ivory Coast had put themselves in an unlawful situation by crossing the border as part of a large group and by force. Consequently, they themselves are to blame for the fact that they weren't able to assert any rights. Yes, even illegal intruders must be treated humanely. But 'storming' Europe cannot be rewarded. There are legal procedures for entering it and being taken in. The EU is not a fortress; nor can Europe survive as a fortress. But to be an open Union it needs real borders.”

ABC (ES) /

A just decision

ABC welcomes the decision:

“For the Strasbourg court, whose ruling will have serious consequences throughout the EU, it was the rejected refugees who voluntarily placed themselves in this situation of illegality. ... This ends a legal dispute that was supported by the left and its aspirations to do good no matter how harmful this may be to the common good; a dispute which discredited the protective security forces at the borders. ... It's no coincidence that it was Gonzalo Boye, the defence lawyer for [fugitive Catalan ex-president] Carles Puigdemont, who brought the case all the way to Strasbourg. The Catalan separatists' declared goal is to propagate the image of Spain as an oppressive state that disregards human rights and in which Francoism is rampant.”