Current European law – the Dublin II Regulation– makes it nearly impossible for asylum seekers to have a fair hearing. The law stipulates that a refugee must apply for asylum in his/her first country of entry (in the EU). This effectively does two things:
(1) First, it protects the wealthy nations of Northern and Western Europe, who won’t have to hear a vast majority of asylum cases. When asylum seekers reach Germany or Sweden, for example, they will simply be sent back to Greece if their finger prints are already on file here. In this way, Greece, Italy, and Spain serve as a buffer zone protecting the interests of wealthier European nations.
(2) Secondly, at least in the case of Greece, Dublin II ensures that cases will be heard in a system that accepts less than 1% of asylum pleas. Greece, by far, has the lowest acceptance rates of asylum seekers of any EU country. From what I’ve seen, the system is patently broken. And yet, Dublin II takes asylum seekers from countries that can provide for their physical needs and provide a fair legal trial and returns them to Greece, which struggle on both fronts.
Anywho… I think that this post has slipped into a rant, so I’d better stop. Below is a recent article from the Kathimernini paper that offers Greek Council for Refugees perspective on Dublin II.
Refugee law ‘problematic’
The European Union’s Dublin II Regulation, which stipulates that refugees apply for asylum in the first EU country they enter, increasingly Greece, creates more problems than it solves, experts told a seminar in Athens yesterday.
“It creates more problems for people fleeing war zones and does anything but protect them,” said Alekos Anastasiou of the Greek Council for Refugees, which organized the event. He said most refugees prefer to live illegally in countries like Sweden or Netherlands than return to Greece. “Hundreds are adrift in member states without having had their cases examined,” said Alexandra Tourlomousi, head of the Citizens Protection Ministry’s asylum unit. She said a proposal by the European Commission for the suspension of refugee returns has not been heeded by most EU countries. Last year, appeals by EU states to return migrants to Greece doubled, reaching 10,083. Of these, 1,211 were returned.