Ger­many to start mi­grant re­turns

Min­is­ter con­firms to ARD Ber­lin will be­gin send­ing asy­lum seek­ers back to Greece

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Mi­gra­tion Min­is­terYian­nis Mouza­las has re­port­edly con­firmed to a Ger­man TV sta­tion that Ber­lin will start re­turn­ing newly ar­rived asy­lum seek­ers to Greece, ef­fec­tively end­ing a five-year sus­pen­sion of such trans­fers due to the dire fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion in Greece.

In an in­ter­view with the show “Re­port Mainz,” due to be aired by ARD to­day, Mouza­las said that Greek au­thor­i­ties have re­ceived 392 re­quests and ap­proved the re­turn of “a small num­ber” of asy­lum seek­ers from Ger­many and some other Euro­pean Union coun­tries.

Un­der the EU’s so-called Dublin reg­u­la­tions, would-be refugees must file for asy­lum in the first mem­ber­state of the bloc they en­ter. If they have trav­eled on to other EU na­tions, they must be re­turned to their first port of call. The re­quire­ment was halted for Greece in 2011 be­cause of short­com­ings in the coun­try’s asy­lum sys­tem. The re­in­state­ment of Dublin rules is based on a Euro­pean Com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tion is­sued in De­cem­ber.

“There was pres­sure from sev­eral EU coun­tries [on Greece] to re­sume re­turns. I un­der­stand that [EU] gov­ern­ments want to show some re- sults to their vot­ers,” Mouza­las said.

How­ever, Pro Asyl, Ger­many’s largest pro-im­mi­gra­tion ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tion, has crit­i­cized the re­turns to Greece.

Karl Kopp, who rep­re­sents the or­ga­ni­za­tion in the Euro­pean Coun­cil on Refugees, re­port­edly told “Re­port Mainz” that the sit­u­a­tion in Greece re­mains dire and that the coun­try needs more help.

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