Who is from Greece

Greece is putting pressure on the EU in its asylum policy

These are refugees who have already been granted asylum or subsidiary protection by the Greek authorities. You will receive a residence permit that also entitles you to travel to other EU countries.

These visits may not last more than 90 days in six months. But the practice is different. Most of the refugees entering Germany as “tourists” apply for asylum again immediately after their arrival.

According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), there have been more than 11,000 such cases since the end of December 2019. There were almost 3,000 in the first three months of 2021. According to the rules of the European asylum system, these people should actually be sent back to Greece.

But that doesn't happen. In January, the Münster Higher Administrative Court ruled that refugees were not allowed to be deported to Greece because they were threatened with “extreme material need” and homelessness. The BAMF has therefore imposed a "decision freeze".

Asylum seekers in Germany hope for better social benefits

Indeed, for many migrants in Greece, the hardest time of their escape begins when they are granted asylum. You then have to provide accommodation and livelihood yourself. The EU-funded “Helios” program pays part of the rent, but first of all you have to find an apartment and a job.

“Helios” helps to find a job, but it is extremely difficult in a country with 16 percent unemployment. There is no basic security like Hartz IV, neither for their own citizens nor for migrants. Many refugees therefore want to leave Greece. The preferred destination is Germany, where recognized asylum seekers can receive the full Hartz IV rate.

Critics consider the situation in Greece to be on purpose. It is suspected that attempts are being made to persuade as many refugees as possible to travel to other EU countries through poor treatment. The organization Pro Asyl criticizes that Greek politics explicitly aim to let recognized refugees go into poverty.

Political observers believe Athens wants to put pressure on the reform of the EU asylum system by issuing travel documents for recognized refugees. For years Greece has been trying to distribute migrants fairly among all EU countries, so far without success. The Greek migration minister Notis Mitarakis says it is not possible "that the countries of first reception bear a disproportionate burden".

An agreement on the asylum reform is not in sight. Migration pressure from Greece is likely to continue to grow once the Corona travel restrictions fall.

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