Greece will cease taking back refugees under the controversial Dublin Regulation, as the country’s limited capacities to host people are already on the brink of collapse, the Greek migration minister announced in an interview.
RT reports that as the European Commission pressures Athens to re-implement the Dublin Regulation – stipulating that refugees can be returned to the first EU state they arrived in – the Greek migration minister told Spiegel his country is not in a position to do so. The agreement was put on hold for Greece back in 2011 over problems in the country’s asylum system.
“Greece is already shouldering a heavy burden,” Ioannis Mouzalas, the migration minister, said. “We accommodate 60,000 refugees… and it would be a mistake to make Greece’s burden heavierby the revival of the Dublin agreement,” he said, also adding that Germany, the primary destination for most refugees, “wants countries where refugees arrive first to bear a large portion of the burden.”
Asked if Athens is ruling out implementation of the Dublin Regulation, Mouzalas answered in the affirmative, adding, “I want the Germans to understand that this is not because of political or ideological reasons, or failure to appreciate Germany’s assistance.”
“Greece simply has no capacities to cope with additional arrival of refugees,” he said. “We’ve just pulled ourselves together, so please, don’t make us falter again.”
At this stage, Mouzalas said, Greece is ready to accommodate only a small number of refugees as a symbolic gesture, showing “that we’re not opposed to the Dublin agreement.” Greece “reached its limits” and “we can’t bring in a single refugee,” he reaffirmed, appealing “to the common sense of Europe.”
Human rights groups warn that imminent transfers from other EU countries back to Greece in line with the regulations are likely to cause more refugees than ever to go underground in western European countries, as many are desperate to stay there because of family links or successful attempts to start a new life. The scheme also adds even greater pressure to existing refugee facilities in Greece and beyond.
Of course, should Greece really go against Merkel’s dream of assimilation, she will simply unleash further austerical despair on the nation in return for their next bailout. How much longer will the Greeks take it?