Germany suspends returning asylum seekers to Greece for second year

Germany has decided to hold off for a second consecutive year on sending asylum seekers back to Greece in an effort to relieve pressure on its European Union partner as it reforms its asylum system.

Under the so-called Dublin procedure, EU countries return illegal migrants to the first EU country they entered. In most cases, that is Greece, on the bloc’s southeastern edge.

But Germany announced a year ago that it would conduct asylum proceedings itself for now rather than sending asylum applicants back. The Interior Ministry said Friday it’s extending that through January 2014.

A ministry statement said that, while there have been improvements, there are still «serious shortcomings» in the Greek asylum system that require further reforms — and Germany wants to give Greece room to complete them.

source: ekathimerini