2 January 2014 – The French migration board, OFPRA, has modified the list of so-called “safe” countries of origin, extending it to include Kosovo. As a consequence, asylum seekers from Kosovo will no longer be officially admitted into French territory for the duration of their asylum procedure. Their application will be dealt with through an “accelerated procedure”, during which asylum seekers are not entitled to any aid or shelter. While asylum seekers are still able to appeal against any negative decision before the French asylum court, the CNDA, this appeal has no longer a suspensive effect
It is not for the first time that the French migration board has attempted to speed up the handling of asylum applications for Kosovo nationals. An earlier initiative to put Kosovo on the safe-country list was annulled, one year ago, by the French State Council, which gave way to an appeal by French NGOs. The State Council concluded that Kosovo, together with Albania, which has also been added to the list of safe countries of origin, does not fulfill the criteria to be considered as “safe”. In both cases, the State Council argued that the countries were still prone to political and social instabilities, and that certain categories of the population were exposed to violence without being able to count on the protection of the state authorities.