Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas has confirmed that Germany will start returning newly-arrived asylum seekers to Greece, effectively ending a five-year suspension of such transfers due to the poor conditions in the debt-hit country.
In an interview with German public television station ARD show “Report Mainz,” due to be aired on Tuesday, 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 EU countries.
Under the European Union's so-called Dublin regulations, would-be refugees must file for asylum in the first member-state 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 results to their voters,” Mouzalas said.