Friday

23rd Jun 2017

Greek court halts Syrian deportations to 'unsafe' Turkey

  • Migrants leaving Lesbos island (Photo: Reuters)

A Greek appeals committee this week ruled Turkey is not safe enough to return Syrian refugees, casting further doubt on the EU's migrant swap deal with Ankara.

Nine Syrian refugees facing deportation will now remain in Greece following a decision earlier this week by an administrative appeals committee in Lesbos, a Greek island.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

German-based NGO Pro Asyl, which defended the nine people, said the appeals committee will issue more decisionslike that in the near future.

"There are a number of further positive decisions which have not been delivered yet," the NGO said on Wednesday (1 June).

In a separate case, a Syrian, who said he was gay and risked being persecuted in Turkey, was told by Greek authorities on Thursday he would be returned. His appeal was rejected.

The EU deal with Ankara, signed off in March, hinges on designating Turkey as a safe country to send all irregular migrants packing.

Under the terms of the deal, the EU would resettle one Syrian refugee from Turkey for each one that is returned.

Some 280 Syrians have been resettled to the EU as of late May. But only 441 of the 8,500 people who arrived on the Greek islands since the deal was signed have been returned.

Amnesty International, in a report out on Friday (3 June), also said asylum seekers and refugees are being denied effective protection in Turkey.

“The EU-Turkey deal is reckless and illegal," said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia, in a statement.

He said Turkey was already unable to respect the rights and meet the needs of over 3 million asylum-seekers and refugees.

"While there is value in supporting and encouraging Turkey to develop a fully functioning asylum system, the EU cannot act as if it already exists," he said.

Over 1 million people arrived last year to seek international protection in Europe. Of those, around 850,000 landed on the Greek islands.

EU defends Turkey deal in light of Greek court ruling

The EU Commission on Monday fended off suggestions a decision by a Greek apeals court not to send back a Syrian aslyum seeker to Turkey, because it is not safe, doesn not endanger the EU-Turkey deal.

EU asks for G7's help on refugees

EU Council president Donald Tusk said the world should show solidarity and help to pay for aid to refugees and encourage regular migration.

Agenda

Migration This WEEK, as Brexit looms

Officials already preparing for aftermath of Brexit referendum, but this week EU institutions will focus on migration as Commission unveils ideas on what to do overseas.

Opinion

European donors help Syrian school children

European donors should encourage Lebanon to revise policies keeping children out of school and to increase resettlement of Syrian refugees from Lebanon.

Security and defence to top EU summit

Pressure is mounting for social media platforms to remove any online content deemed to incite terrorism. Draft conclusions, seen by EUobserver, have made the issue a top priority in leaders' talks next week.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal
  2. US issues warrant for VW managers, German media say
  3. EU extends sanctions against Russia
  4. Merkel denies Franco-German deal on EU agencies
  5. Dutch PM: Turkey is upholding migration deal
  6. Britain to outline rights of UK-based EU citizens
  7. Tusk can 'imagine' the UK still remaining in EU
  8. Norway offers more blocks for Arctic oil exploration

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  2. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  3. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  4. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  5. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  6. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  7. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  8. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  11. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move
  12. European Social Services ConferenceDriving innovation in the social sector – 26-28 June

Latest News

  1. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  2. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  3. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit
  4. EU pressures firms to tackle online terrorism
  5. Lack of eligible candidates dogs EU relocation scheme
  6. Border management going virtual
  7. Tusk hints UK could stay in EU, if it wanted
  8. Merkel, Orban and the not quite closed Balkan route