National law in Slovakia currently only provides for the possibility for an appeal before non-judicial administrative authorities. On the basis of the Visa Code (Regulation (EC) No 810/2009) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, visa applicants have the right to a non-arbitrary treatment of their visa application which must be protected by a judicial appeal procedure.
The replies given by the Slovak Republic to the letter of formal notice in 2013 and the reasoned opinions in 2015 and 2018 do not address the concerns raised by the Commission. The Commission has, therefore, decided to refer Slovakia to the Court of Justice of the EU.
The Visa Code Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 810/2009) sets out the procedures and conditions for issuing visas for short stays and airport transit. It obliges Member States to provide for a right of appeal against a visa refusal, annulment or revocation. The right to a judicial appeal against a visa refusal was confirmed by the Court of Justice of the EU in the case El Hassani (C-403/16) on 13 December 2017. In addition, the EU Treaty obliges Member States to provide sufficient remedies to ensure an effective legal protection in the fields covered by EU law, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU grants individuals the right to an effective remedy before a tribunal, when rights and freedoms under Union law are violated.
The Commission initiated the infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to the Slovak authorities in February 2013. This was followed by an additional letter of formal notice in October 2013, a reasoned opinion in October 2014 and an additional reasoned opinion in February 2015.
For More Information
- Monitoring of EU law in the area of Home Affairs
- On the key decisions of the May 2018 infringements package, please refer to the full MEMO/18/3446.
- On the general infringements procedure, see MEMO/12/12.
- On the EU infringements procedure.