According to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany will commence returning refugees to Greece from March 15. The newspaper cites a letter forwarded by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere to the German parliament requesting from the immigration ministry to start the procedure in accordance with a December European Commission recommendation for the reactivation of the relevant Dublin Accord regulation.
The regulation had been suspended in 2011 following a ruling by the European Court of Justice on the grounds of poor living conditions in Greece for the refugees. However, the Commission’s recommendation does not apply to refugees that entered the EU before mid March and groups labeled “sensitive”, like unattended minors. Moreover, the EC has linked the reactivation of the regulation with the implementation of the 2015 agreement for the allocation of of refugees in EU member-states. Brussels had tabled a plan for the allocation of 1,000-2,000 daily to other EU member-states, a plan that has by and large failed, as EU countries have only received a total of 7,340 refugees from Greece and Italy. Meanwhile, German NGO Pro Asyl has condemned the plans by the German government to activate the regulation claiming such a move would be hurt the Greek asylum seeking mechanism.