German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere suggested on Sunday that his country should send migrants back to Greece, a Deutsche Welle report says.
“We have done a lot in Europe in order to improve the refugee situation in Greece. This must have consequences that will enable refugees to be sent back to Greece according to the Dublin regulations,” ” de Maiziere told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
According to the European Union Dublin treaty, the member state where a person arrives first in the bloc is obligated to process the asylum application. However, due to shortcomings in Greece’s asylum processing system and the sheer number of people arriving in the country, Germany has suspended deportations back to Greece since 2011.
De Maiziere said the EU has not developed a common approach to handling refugees and Germany could not implement such a policy alone. “When we tackle this problem alone, then there is the danger that in a short amount of time the administrative courts will block deportations,” he said, according to the report.
Since the massive inflow of refugees and migrants in 2015, Germany has accommodated about one million people. Many of them landed in Greece first, coming from the Turkish shores. Not all arrivals qualify for asylum in Germany, while processing asylum applications and deportation is a long and slow process.
More than 50,000 migrants are stranded in Greece, many of whom have applied for asylum in the country. The closing of the Greece-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia border has stopped many from reaching northern Europe.
The Deutsche Welle report says that the refugee issue has created a public backlash in Germany that might affect significantly the results of next year’s national elections.