Germany to resume sending migrants back to Greece

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AFP

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Oinofyta, north of Athens: Asylum seekers face very basic conditions in Greek camps

Germany is set to send asylum seekers back to Greece, although reception centres there are overcrowded and there is a huge backlog in processing claims.

Germany had halted such returns under a 2011 ruling by its Constitutional Court. But it can send migrants back under the EU’s Dublin Convention.

That convention says an asylum claim should be processed in the country where a migrant first entered the EU.

A Greek minister and German officials told ARD TV about the change of policy.

Greek Migration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas said Greece had agreed to take some asylum seekers back in a goodwill gesture, as there had been “pressure” from some EU countries to do so.

The German interior ministry told the German broadcaster that by the end of July it had asked Greece to take back 392 asylum seekers.

According to the report, the transfers to Greece will only affect migrants who arrived in Germany from mid-March 2017.

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In 2015-2016 Germany took in more than 800,000 migrants and refugees, many of whom had fled war and abuses in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

At the time Greece, struggling with meagre resources because of its financial crisis, complained that it could not cope with the numbers arriving by boat from Turkey.

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Media captionAround 1300 migrants have been sent back by Greece to Turkey since the EU deal in 2016

Conditions remain harsh in most of Greece’s reception centres, and there have been some riots by migrants frustrated at bureaucratic…

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