Seehofer-Deal

In August 2018, Germany and Greece concluded an administrative agreement, with which a new procedure was initiated: asylum seekers, identified in border checks at the German-Austrian land border, may be refused entry and returned to Greece within 48 hours.This procedure circumvents the procedural guarantees laid down in the Dublin III Regulation: it is not examined whether the return to Greece is lawful in the particular case, and access to judicial review is de facto impossible within the 48 hours return procedure.

Together with Pro Asyl and our cooperation lawyers, we undertake litigation against this unlawful practice. In addition, we litigate against unlawful returns in similar procedures, be it the usual Dublin procedure, or the return of beneficiaries of international protection. On this page, we summarize the positive court decisions.

Court Munich On The “Seehofer-Deal”: Refusal Of Entry At The German-Austrian Border And Immediate Return To Greece Are Illegal (8 August 2019)

The Administrative Court Munich obliged Germany to immediately take back an applicant, who was refused at the German-Austrian border and deported to Greece on the basis of the German-Greek Arrangement.

The case: An Afghan citizen was arrested after crossing the German-Austrian border by train in May 2019, where the Federal Police carried out an entry check. The Federal Police interviewed him one day later and found a EURODAC hit in Greece. Without any further examination or a proper hearing, the police issued a refusal of entry "because there are indications that the above-mentioned state is obliged to take back the applicant”. A take back procedure was initiated and the applicant was sent back to Greece on the same day. In Greece, the he was arrested immediately and stayed imprisoned for several months. His asylum procedure in Greece was not continued despite his application.

The Administrative Court Munich obliged Germany to immediately return the applicant to Germany at Germany`s expense and to grant him temporary entry to Germany. Moreover, the court clarified, that even in a “refusal of entry” situation, a Dublin procedure (take back request – acceptance – possibility for legal remedies with suspensive effect) needs to be carried out. As part of this procedure, it is necessary to examine potential human rights violations in Greece, including in particular the question of whether a fair asylum procedure can be expected in Greece.

Many media reported on the case, including the German tagesschau, n-tv and Süddeutsche Zeitung. An English Summary of the Case can also be found at the European Database of Asylum Law.

The litigation was undertaken by Equal Rights Beyond Borders, PRO ASYL and AITIMA.

For more detailed information on the case, please visit our news.

Administrative Court Munich Doubts That Turkey Is A ‘Safe Third Country’ (17 July 2019)

The court suspended the deportation of a Syrian asylum seeker to Greece, as he would likely be sent back to Turkey from there. The Court thus also questions the EU-Turkey Deal as a whole, which is based on the assumption that Turkey was a ‘safe third country’. But as numerous reports show, Syrian refugees are threatened there not only with torture, homelessness and imprisonment, but also with deportation back to Syria. It is the first time, that a German court was concerned with the question whether Turkey can be considered a safe third country or not, and the and the clear judgment is further evidence, that the EU-Turkey deal is legally more than questionable.

The case: A Syrian citizen applied for asylum on the island of Kos in 2018, where his application was deemed inadmissible, as Turkey was considered as ‘safe third country’. The applicant subsequently travelled to Germany, where some relatives of him lived. In June 2019, the German Federal Police arrested him during a border police check on a bus coming from Austria. The police placed him in detention, issued a refusal of entry and launched proceedings to return him to Greece, according to the first-entry rule of the Dublin-III-Regulation.

On 17 July, Administrative Court Munich ruled to suspend the transfer of the Syrian to Greece. The court justified the decision with the risk of a chain refoulement to Turkey, where the applicant would most likely not receive sufficient protection. The applicant's asylum application had already been rejected as inadmissible in Greece, which is why he was to be returned to Turkey. Although he could have appealed against this decision, the court agreed that this appeal was not "effective" in Greece and therefore did not offer sufficient protection.

The proceedings were handled by Equal Rights Beyond Borders, PRO ASYL and Refugee Support Aegean.

For more information on the case, please visit our news blog.

A summary of the case can also be found at the European Database of Asylum Law.

Equal Rights Beyond Borders consists of two seperately registered entities in Greece and Germany.

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