French court acquits priest for housing migrants in church

EU Court OKs permit beyond 3 months for no-EU students

10 September, 15:30

    An immigrant woman with her child (archive) An immigrant woman with her child (archive)

    (ANSAmed) - PARIS - A French court on Wednesday ruled that a parish priest did not commit a crime when he allowed migrants to stay at his Saint-Etienne church in south-east France, according to media reports.
    The public reportedly cheered when the sentence was read.
    Prosecutors had reportedly asked for a 12,000-euro fine for the priest. Father Riffard, 70, houses some 80 migrants who have not been granted lodgings by local authorities at his church in the Montreynaud district.

    European Union member States have to admit citizens from third countries who intend to stay for over three months on a study permit, provided they pose no threat to public order, the European Court of Justice said, reducing the possibility for EU members to reject visa applications from students outside the Union. Following the ruling, member countries will not be able to introduce further admission criteria beyond those already in the Union's directive. The sentence concerned the case of a Tunisian citizen born in Germany in 1989 who, after studying in Tunis, returned to Dortmund, where he is reading math at university. German authorities however rejected several visa applications he had filed because they had deemed his grades insufficient and his proficiency in English unsatisfactory. A German administrative court thus brought the case to the Court of Justice so it could rule on whether Germany had the power to deny a visa to a student who fulfilled all admissions criteria and posed no threat to public order and health. (ANSAmed)

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