Berlin is mooting the idea of sending migrants back to Greece for the first time in five years.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere says that Germany has done its bit to help refugees, but needed help from the rest of the bloc to take in migrants.
De Maiziere is adamant that the EU needs to adopt a common policy towards refugees and that Berlin is unable to handle the burden on its own. Under the Dublin regulations, migrants should be processed in the first member state they entered, which for many was Greece.
“We have done a lot in Europe in order to improve the refugee situation in Greece,” de Maiziere told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, as cited by Deutsche Welle. “This must have consequences that will enable refugees to be sent back to Greece according to the Dublin regulations.”
Germany has not sent migrants back to Greece since 2011 due to deficiencies in the Greek asylum processing system and the fact that the country is struggling to cope with the number of refugees already in Greece. There are currently 50,000 migrants in Greece who are waiting to be sent on to other EU countries.
More than one million refugees moved to Germany in 2015 under Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open doors policy. The number of migrants reaching Germany in 2016 has been stemmed, largely due to a number of countries in the south of Europe sealing their borders.
Merkel’s willingness to accept migrants has not been applauded by everyone in Germany, with sizable sections of the population growing increasingly disillusioned with the number of refugees the country has taken in.