The applicant, Syrian national have been rejected the application for international protection as inadmissible because the applicant has been previously granted subsidiary protection in Bulgaria, as Eurodac revealed. The applicant contested the decision and claimed that upon return to Bulgaria he will risk being exposed to inhuman or degrading treatment. The applicant also claimed that the State Secretary could have only assumed that the applicant received protection in Bulgaria because he was not issued any residence permit or decision showing that he was actually granted international protection.
The Court of the Hague noted that the State Secretary may in principle rely on information received from another Member State but due consideration has to be given to the time lapsed between the moment of receiving the information and the decision taken, which in this case was one month, thus considered very limited.
The court also noted that the information received from the Bulgarian authorities on 8 August 2022 was insufficient and unclear on the applicant’s right to reside upon an eventual return to Bulgaria. The court mentioned that the applicant referred to the AIDA Report Bulgaria 2021 to underline that the Bulgarian legislation is unclear on the decision of the asylum authorities in situations where an applicant has left before the end of proceedings, has applied in Netherlands and is forced to return to Bulgaria. The applicant referred also to a report from EUAA where it was mentioned that the failure to renew or replace the Bulgarian identity document was not a ground for withdrawal of residence right, however this could be regarded as an indication that the third country national may no longer appreciate the international protection granted. The court considered it possible for the Bulgarian authorities to consider such an indication to be present in cases where applicants have left the country and reapplied in another EU+ country.
The court has quashed the contested decision and instructed the determining authority to conduct further investigations into the current status of the subsidiary protection in Bulgaria, to inquire about the period of validity of the applicant's international protection status and whether he will be admitted to Bulgaria. A decision could be taken after having analysed the abovementioned.
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