On 4 May 2021 in a cham­ber decisi­on the Admi­nis­tra­ti­ve Court of Munich found the admi­nis­tra­ti­ve arran­ge­ment bet­ween Ger­ma­ny and Greece, known as the “See­hofer Deal”, which faci­li­ta­tes the immedia­te return of asyl­um app­li­cants from the Ger­man bor­der with Aus­tria to Greece, as “clear­ly unlaw­ful” and in vio­la­ti­on of Euro­pean law. The court orde­red to immedia­te­ly return the con­cer­ned app­li­cant from Greece to Ger­ma­ny, who had been depor­ted in August 2020. The per­son con­cer­ned is repre­sen­ted by the lawy­er Mat­thi­as Leh­nert. The pro­cee­dings are sup­por­ted by the Greek Coun­cil for Refu­gees (GCR) and PRO ASYL.

„The Admi­nis­tra­ti­ve Court of Munich clear­ly sta­tes: pro­ce­du­ral requi­re­ments and com­pli­an­ce with human rights can­not be bypas­sed by fast-track pro­ce­du­res at the bor­der, espe­cial­ly by the Federal Poli­ce. The Dub­lin Regu­la­ti­on can­not be cir­cum­ven­ted uni­la­te­ral­ly or by an agree­ment bet­ween two Mem­ber Sta­tes,“ empha­si­zes lawy­er Mat­thi­as Leh­nert. „But tha­t’s what the federal government of Ger­ma­ny has done, and in doing so, it’s been brea­king Euro­pean law with its eyes wide open.“

The Greek Coun­cil for Refu­gees and PRO ASYL expect the decisi­on to be imple­men­ted immediately.

Back­ground to the case 

The per­son con­cer­ned, a Syri­an app­li­cant, had initi­al­ly app­lied for asyl­um in Greece. The­re he was threa­tened with depor­ta­ti­on to Tur­key due to the EU-Tur­key deal. He con­ti­nued his flight to Ger­ma­ny. On 13 August 2020 he was appre­hen­ded by the Federal Poli­ce at the Ger­man-Aus­tri­an bor­der and expres­sed his wish to app­ly for asyl­um. Ins­tead of initia­ting the pro­ce­du­re requi­red under Euro­pean law wit­hin the frame­work of the Dub­lin III Regu­la­ti­on at the Federal Office for Migra­ti­on and Refu­gees (BAMF), the Federal Poli­ce depor­ted the Syri­an con­cer­ned to Greece in app­li­ca­ti­on of the “See­hofer Deal” the fol­lowing day. In Greece he was noti­fied a rejec­tion decisi­on regar­ding his asyl­um app­li­ca­ti­on and a return decisi­on to Tur­key and was detai­ned for several weeks befo­re GCR was able to obtain his release. Sin­ce then he has been living homeless in Athens, threa­tened with depor­ta­ti­on to Turkey.

The „See­hofer Deal“: refou­le­ment at the Ger­man-Aus­tri­an border 

The “See­hofer Deal” bet­ween Ger­ma­ny and Greece (a simi­lar arran­ge­ment also exists with Spain) was con­clu­ded in 2018. It pro­vi­des for the refu­sal of ent­ry to pro­tec­tion see­kers who were pre­vious­ly regis­tered in Greece and who enter Ger­ma­ny via the bor­der with Aus­tria. They are to be detai­ned and depor­ted to Greece wit­hin 48 hours. As of June 2020, 39 peop­le were affec­ted by the deal bet­ween Greece and Ger­ma­ny (ans­wer to ques­ti­on 42).

As Prof. Dr. Anna Lüb­be alrea­dy con­fir­med in her expert opi­ni­on in Decem­ber 2018, the bin­ding Dub­lin Regu­la­ti­on defi­nes the pro­ce­du­re and cri­te­ria for whe­ther and how an asyl­um see­ker can be trans­fer­red from one Mem­ber Sta­te to ano­t­her – after suf­fi­ci­ent exami­na­ti­on and with effec­ti­ve access to legal pro­tec­tion. The “See­hofer Deal” igno­res this and pla­ces its­elf out­side the exis­ting law.

The deal its­elf was not even made avail­ab­le to mem­bers of the par­lia­ments at first. It only beca­me public thanks to PRO ASYL­’s Greek part­ner orga­ni­sa­ti­on, Refu­gee Sup­port Aege­an.

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