Levakovic v Denmark (third-party intervention, 2018)
24 November 2017
The applicant was a Romani man and Croatian citizen (and therefore an EU citizen). He was born in the Netherlands and moved to Denmark when he was a baby. He lived in Denmark his entire life and could only speak Danish and Romanes. He was convicted of several criminal offences and faced deportation from Denmark as a result.
The ERRC’s Third-Party Intervention
We made submissions on two points. First, we provided an overview of the relevant provisions of EU law on the free movement of persons, citing, in particular, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 45 § 1), EU Directive 2004/38, and the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“the CJEU”). We pointed out that EU citizens who have resided for an extended period in other Member States are likely to enjoy a very high level of legal protection against expulsion from the Member State in which they are living. This was the case even if they had only recently became EU citizens, that is, if their country of underlying nationality had only recently joined the EU. We submitted that in order for the expulsion of an EU citizen from another Member State to be “in accordance with the law”, the domestic courts would have to have undertaken an extensive analysis of the relevant EU law principles, which would necessarily involve consideration of the applicable EU legal instruments and the CJEU case law. Second, we described the effect of antigypsyism and xenophobia in Denmark on Roma living in the country, including the willingness of the authorities to disregard the EU law rights of Romani EU citizens when attempting to expel them. In this context, we urged the Court to be particularly attentive to any stereotypes that may have contaminated any decision to expel a Romani person, to name those stereotypes, and to challenge them. This was particularly important in cases where the rights of the persons concerned – such as their EU law rights – had not been properly considered in the domestic proceedings.
The Court’s Judgment
A seven-judge chamber of the European Court ruled unanimously on 23 October 2018 that expelling the applicant to Croatia did not amount to a violation of his right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights). The Court found that there were no strong reasons to substitute its own view for the view reached by the courts in Denmark. In response to our comments about antigypsyism (which the judgment refers to as “so-called anti-gypsyism”) in Denmark, the Court wrote that “There are no indications whatsoever that the domestic authorities may have based their decisions on stereotypes about Roma”. The Court did not address our submissions about European Union law.
The Court’s judgment can be found here.
Our third-party intervention can be found here.