Germany Secures Second Migrant Return Deal, This Time with Greece
Germany’s government has struck a migrant return deal with Greece achieving its second of what is supposed to be a series of bilateral agreements with fellow EU member states, part of new policies to stem the influx of migrants.
The deal between Germany and Greece will allow the former to return to the latter asylum seekers who entered the EU through Greek soil.
The agreement has been announced by the German Interior Ministry, as cited by DW.
It comes 10 days after Germany struck its first such migrant return deal with another southern EU state, Spain.
As part of the announcement about the deal struck with Greece on Friday, the German Interior Ministry also said it would send back certain asylum seekers.
Under what is described as a compromise between Berlin and Athens, Greece will agree to take back all asylum-seekers who initially applied in Greece but ultimately moved to Germany by passing through the German-Austrian border.
It is noted that the deal is unlikely to affect many refugees since according to the figures of the German Interior Ministry, only 150 migrants who applied for asylum elsewhere have entered Germany through Austria since mid-June.
For the time being, it remains unknown what Greece will get from Germany for the deal. In its deal with Spain earlier this month, Berlin promised to put in efforts to curb the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean and arriving in Spain from Morocco.
This promise seems to be playing out already with reports that the Moroccan authorities – as well as those in Algeria – are rounding up migrants seemingly destined for the EU, and busing them in the interior of the country.
Under European Union rules, migrants arriving from outside the EU should register and their application be processed in the country where they make their initial entry.
In July, Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who is also the leader of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s ruling CDU party, nearly brought down the Merkel Cabinet after his insistence on new measures against illegal immigration led to a crisis and complex talks that resulted in a compromise deal of the ruling coalition.
Alongside Spain and Greece, Germany is reportedly also trying to strike a similar migrant return agreement with Italy.
And while Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right populist League party, is described as unwilling to compromise, a spokesman for the Italian Interior Ministry has revealed that the talks between Berlin and Rome are well under way.
Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested she might travel to Italy to negotiate the deal herself if need be.
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