EU law allows exceptions for those helping migrants for humanitarian reasons, Bertaud says

European legislation allows members-states to make exceptions for those that help migrants for humanitarian reasons, European Commission spokesperson for migration issues Natasha Bertaud stated on Monday. Bertaud had been asked to comment on the trial in Greece on migrant-trafficking charges of three Spanish firefighters, members of the non-governmental organisation PROEM-AID, as well as two Danish citizens of Arab descent, members of the NGO “Team Humanity”, who are also being tried on Monday.

“European legislation provides the framework but is not responsible for the examination of individual cases,” she said. When asked whether the Commission is going to review the legal framework in the context of a review of the Dublin Treaty, so that NGO members do not face criminal charges for transporting migrants, she said that the specific law was reviewed in March 2017 “to ensure that, in this framework, it gives the option to member-states to make exceptions for cases when it is clear that humanitarian aid is involved.”

Concluding, Bertaud said that “this is enough to guarantee that these exceptions can be applied by the member-states, leaving it up to national authorities to make the choice.”