According to the press release,
First investigate legal aid in Greece, then only return asylum seekers
Before foreign nationals can be sent back to Greece to await their asylum procedure, the State Secretary for Justice and Security must first investigate the access of asylum seekers to legal aid in Greece.
The Administrative Jurisdiction Division comes to this conclusion in a court case involving two foreign nationals who had previously applied for asylum in Greece. The State Secretary therefore did not want to process their asylum applications. According to the so-called Dublin Regulation, Greece is in this case responsible for processing the asylum application. However, the aliens say that the reception and asylum procedure in Greece is so inadequate that they cannot return to Greece.
Functioning of asylum procedure Greece has improved ...
For years there have been concerns about the quality of reception of asylum seekers and of asylum procedures in Greece. They even led to the legal deportation of asylum seekers to Greece after 2011. But the situation in Greece has improved. The European Commission suggests that Member States gradually resume the transfer of asylum seekers to Greece.
... but there are still serious points for attention
At the same time there are still points of interest in the Greek asylum procedure. The reception location to which the aliens should return in these cases has been brought to a sufficient level, but an important point for attention is the very limited access of asylum seekers to free legal assistance during their appeal procedure. The State Secretary also cannot guarantee this for the foreigners. That is why it must first investigate this before it can hand over foreigners to Greece. The State Secretary could also ask the Greek authorities for an individual guarantee that a foreign national will be assigned a legal aid provider. Only when that investigation or guarantees show that the foreign nationals have access to legal aid, the state secretary may again send foreign nationals back to Greece.
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