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Germany reinstates Dublin rules for Syrians

November 10, 2015

Berlin plans to send more Syrian refugees back to the first EU country they entered while traveling towards Germany, officials say. The decision would not apply to Greece, one of the main entry points for the bloc.

Deutschland Erstregistrierungsstelle in Passau
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Weigel

The German authorities aim to "return to orderly procedure" concerning refugees, with measures including temporary border controls and the Dublin agreement, the Interior Ministry confirmed to DW on Tuesday.

The Dublin Regulation states that a refugee must register in the first EU country they enter, which is then tasked with examining that person's asylum application.

"Germany is currently applying the Dublin regulation for all countries of origin and all member states (except Greece)" the ministry said in an emailed statement, adding that Dublin rules have also applied to "Syrian nationals" since October 21.

In other words, the move should not apply to any Syrians who entered the EU in Greece, according to a report by the AFP news agency.

German authorities intend to make the decision on a case-by-case basis, and to take into account whether transferring the migrants back to other EU countries is a "realistic possibility," officials say.

Parties clashing over Dublin

Chancellor Angela Merkel suspended the agreement for Syrians in August, faced with the ever-growing number of asylum seekers. The authorities defended the decision citing humanitarian reasons.

At the same time, several politicians from Merkel's center-right CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, criticized the move, saying that many migrants would see her decision as an invitation to apply for asylum in Germany.

The overwhelming majority of the refugees arriving to Germany have not registered in any of the EU countries during their journey, posing a significant practical challenge for the authorities.

"The Interior Ministry is about to completely cripple the Office for Migration and Refugees," the head of Pro Asyl group, Günter Burkhardt, told the DPA news agency.

"Returning so many people to Hungary or Croatia is inhumane and, at the same time, unrealistic," he added.

The German parliament would discuss the move to re-establish Dublin rules during tomorrow's session, according to the DPA report. The German opposition and the center-left coalition partner, the SPD, have allegedly criticized the step.

dj/kms (dpa, AFP, Reuters, KNA)