On Thursday, the German Interior Ministry said Berlin was likely to begin returning refugees to Greece starting from March 15, in line with the European Commission’s December recommendations.
“These migrants should be brought back to Greece. They have to cooperate, since Greece is dependent upon financial aid from other EU countries, namely Germany,” Ronald Glaser said.
He added that at the same time the transfer of migrants would barely take place, as the German government “is not willing to send illegal immigrants home — or [would send] only very few.”
The European Union is currently struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people leaving conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and Africa to escape violence and poverty and seeking asylum in Europe.
On December 8, 2016, the European Commission recommended that the EU member states return to the practice of sending asylum seekers who entered the bloc through Greece back to the Balkan nation, which was suspended in 2011. The recommendations are based on the 1990 Dublin Regulation, signed by all EU members, which stipulates that the first EU member country entered by a refugee is responsible for processing their asylum application.
After the migrant crisis escalated in 2015, some EU countries called for the system to be amended as it leads to a disproportionate amount of migrants in peripheral EU member states that cannot handle the influx.