As the answer of the German government on a parliamentary request by a member of the German parliament shows, Germany rejected 67 % of the family reunion take-charge requests from Greece in 2018. Refugee law clinics abroad is working with numerous affected asylum seekers, trying to enforce their right to family unity. After Germany and Greece agreed on a cap or slow-down of the family reunions in May 2017, the German asylum administration (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge) now seems to develop new strategies in order to keep family members in Greece. The German newspaper Neue Osnarbrücker Zeitung reports on the issue.
The Dublin Regulation III determines the responsibility for asylum procedures among Member States. An important criterion in the regulation is the family unity (cf. our leaflet on the topic – to be published in English soon). In case an asylum seeker in Greece has relatives in Germany – nuclear family or in some cases even other relatives, especially when unaccompanied minors are affected – Germany is responsible for the asylum procedure of the asylum seeker later arriving to Greece as well. In this case, the Greek Asylum Service must request the German asylum administration to take charge of the asylum seeker. Germany is then obliged to agree to the asylum seeker’s transfer to Germany.
In this year, Germany changed his administrative practice and started to reject high number of take charge requests – in 2018 so far 67 % of the Greek take charge request based on family unity. The rejections are often based on obviously unlawful or even absurd reasons. Furthermore, rejections are based on formal criteria such as the expiry of the deadline to submit the take charge request. Since the Greek state is responsible for these requests and the individuals have no influence on the speed of the (still severely overburdened) Greek administration, it is irresponsible to deny the right to family unity on such formal basis. Refugee law clinics abroad together with other NGOs has addressed a letter to the German Dublin Unit calling for a lawful application of the Dublin Regulation III.
Refugee law clinics abroad is heavily criticizing this unlawful practice of the German administration. The Dublin Regulation III is one of the rare safe and legal channels for families to be reunited and for asylum seekers to escape the dire reception conditions in Greece (cf. on the situation on Chios). Closing this channel by unlawful practices on costs of family unity is unacceptable. We invoke the German administration to return to a lawful, fast and uncomplicated processing of the family reunion cases by correctly applying the Dublin Regulation III.