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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