Tuesday

13th Nov 2018

EU says Greece, Germany breaking asylum law

The European Commission has launched 40 inquiries against 19 countries, including Germany, Greece, Italy, and Hungary for failing to follow asylum rules.

The step, on Wednesday (23 September), comes as European leaders gather in Brussels for emergency talks on the refugee crisis.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Timmermans announced the measures among questions on EU migrant relocation compliance (Photo: European Commission)

It also comes after EU ministers, on Tuesday, outvoted the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia on a refugee-sharing scheme, prompting questions if the four refuseniks will comply.

“This Commission means business,” Frans Timmermans, Commission vice-president in charge of rule-of-law, said while presenting the infringement package.

“I believe one of the reasons why the asylum system isn’t working is because member states don’t apply it. We have a duty to make sure they're applying it”, he added.

According to the Commission, 18 member states have failed to adopt common European procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection.

Another 19 have not fully transposed common rules for the conditions asylum seekers should be provided with.

EU minimum standards include access to housing, food, healthcare and employment, as well as medical and psychological care.

They also impose restrictions on the detention of vulnerable persons, in particular minors.

The Commission said Bulgaria and Spain are also failing in the area.

But it singled out the Greek asylum system as showing "serious deficiencies" in terms of EU compliance.

It said Greece fails to provide necessary reception conditions for asylum seekers, particularly those with special needs and vulnerable persons.

It also fails to provide a functioning guardianship system and legal representation for unaccompanied children in the asylum procedure.

On fingerprinting, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and Italy are being put under review by the EU executive.

On returning migrants, in cases where their asylum requests have been rejected, Germany, Greece, and Italy are also being put under scrutiny.

The member states now have two months to make their case. If the EU Commission finds their answers unsatisfactory, they could face court cases and fines.

The Commission already has 35 other ongoing investigations on asylum rules.

But it didn’t include Hungary’s recently adopted and highly controversial laws on migration.

The new laws include harsher punishments for irregular border crossings and grant extra rights on military intervention.

Hungary says it is upholding EU rules on migration and that Greece, Croatia and others are the ones not following European law.

“If the European Commission comes out with concrete points where EU legislation isn't followed, we will look at it", a Hungarian official commented.

“But there is plenty of Hungary-phobia … and that isn't something we approve of”, he added.

The Commission, on Wednesday, also increased by €1.7 billion the emergency aid for EU countries struggling with migrant arrivals and for refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria.

The decision brings the total aid pot to €9.2 billion.

News in Brief

  1. UK seeks swift use of new EU chemical weapons blacklist
  2. Barnier briefs EU ministers: intense negotiations continue
  3. Romanian minister preparing EU presidency steps down
  4. Finland says Russia possibly behind GPS jamming
  5. German AfD leader under fire for Swiss campaign funding
  6. Seehofer announces he will step down as CSU party leader
  7. EU condemns elections in Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine
  8. German Greens pick two top candidates for EU election

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Romanian leaders trade jibes over upcoming EU presidency
  2. EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press
  3. EU 'Magnitsky Act' must bear its proper name
  4. Fear of nationalist surge marks European memorials
  5. Liberals ally with Macron for election, but no candidate yet
  6. Revealed: Link between MEPs CO2 votes and domestic car jobs
  7. All Quiet on the Eastern Front?
  8. Merkel and Brexit in spotlight This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us