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No, Germany is not preparing to send 50,000 foreigners back to Greece

Migration
Fact-check

Ellinika Hoaxes (Greek Hoaxes), Greece

2 April 2019, Updated: 17 April 2019

It's not true that, according to a ruling by the European Court of Justice, Berlin will send at least 50,000 foreigners back to Greece in 2020. The claim originated from the interview of a lawyer by the Greek edition of Sputnik.

Here's the claim as it was published by the website pronews.gr:

Shock from Berlin: It is preparing to send 50,000 foreigners back to Greece

Shocking is the information coming from Germany regarding the judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union that Berlin can now freely expel foreigners back to their countries of origin, that is, the countries they have used as a point of entry into Europe.

Click here to see the full article in Greek.

Is it true?

The initial source of the claim is a statement to Sputnik by Georgios Tsaousis, lawyer and chairman of Lawyers' Association Of Immigration Law IMMIGRATION: “if they send us back as many as 50,000 foreigners, according to what I read, within the next year, we have no place to host them.”

CORRECTIV.Faktencheck, the German partner of FactcheckEU, reached out to the German Ministry of Interior. Here’s what a spokesperson said in a statement:

The relevant reports are related to the Dublin Agreement. The first claim (that Germany will send 50,000 immigrants back to Greece) is false. In 2018 Germany asked Greece to take back 7,100 immigrants, and Greece agreed to take only 180, rejecting 6,500 applications. Only six cases finally went ahead. At the same time, 3,500 people were transferred from Greece to Germany. Germany asked all EU countries (and not just Greece) to accept 51,000 immigrants / refugees. Up until today, 9,200 cases have gone ahead. At the same time, Germany received applications for 25,000 people, of which 7,600 have already arrived.

A related statement by German Minister of Interior, Horst Seehofer, on the judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union, states:

The Court of Justice of the European Union has strengthened, with its present judgements, the regulations of jurisdiction within Europe and gave a strong message against any illegal secondary immigration within Europe. The Court ruled that in cases of absence of significant material goods that infringe the regulation regarding inhumane treatment, only then it is possible not to implement the transfer to the responsible Member State. Poverty or shortcomings of the social system are not sufficient factors for the non-transfer. The basic fundamental Principle of mutual trust is highlighted here. Then there is always the assumption that the situation for asylum-seekers in all EU Member States is in accordance with the European law and, thus, the stay in the EU Member States is within the limits of what is feasible. All Member States are therefore called upon to reshape asylum and readmission systems in accordance with the European law and to leave no doubt regarding legality.

We have contacted Mr. Tsaousis via email and asked him about his statement at Sputnik where he says that 50,000 immigrants may return from Germany to Greece.

He answered that he had seen the claim in relevant publications and when we asked him to send us one of them (given the fact that we did not find one), he referred us to an article posted on pentapostagma.gr, which is on the one hand untrustworthy and on the other it says “According to Sueddeutsche Zeitung, from January till the end of November 2018, Germany expelled 8,658 asylum seekers in other EU countries, a number larger than the previous year during which 7,102 expulsions had been recorded. At the same time, Germany's immigration office asked other EU countries to accept 51,558 refugees, while 35,375 applications had been approved.” (Click here for the original Sueddeutsche Zeitung publication dated 21/1/2019).

Conclusion

There is no official or unofficial report regarding the transfer of 50,000 immigrants from Germany to Greece, with the exception of Mr Tsaousis's claim in Sputnik. However, the claim is untrue, on the one hand because it is contradicted by the German Ministry of Interior, on the other hand because it is based on a misinterpretation, because Germany did not ask to send 50,000 refugees back to Greece but to all 28 EU member states.

Translation by Alexia Kefalas / VoxEurop

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