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Executive Summary for August 25th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the E.U. starting to return asylum seekers to Greece, Poland threatening legal battles over relocation and more east Europeans leaving Britain.

Published on Aug. 25, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

E.U. to Return Asylum Seekers to Greece

Germany and other European Union countries will start returning asylum seekers to Greece within the month, Greek migration minister Yannis Mouzalas said.

Under the Dublin Regulation, most asylum seekers must apply for refugee status in the first E.U. state they reach. A European court ruled in 2011 that returning asylum seekers to Greece should be stopped because of poor conditions there, but E.U. officials recently announced that the returns would resume.

Germany has requested almost 400 people be sent to Greece, while the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and Norway have also made requests, the Guardian reported.

“The paperwork has begun and we expect returns to begin over the next month,” Mouzalas said. “I don’t know where they will go. It could be Athens, it could be Thebes … they are accommodated in an apartment scheme.

“Whatever [happens], conditions will be good, they have improved greatly and will meet E.U. criteria.”

“Greece has already accepted so many [refugees], it has come under such pressure, that to accept more would be absurd, a joke if it weren’t such a tragedy,” he added.

Mouzalas said he had no idea whether the refugees would ever leave Greece.

Poland Threatens to Fight E.U. in Court Over Relocation

Poland has asked the European Commission to halt infringement proceedings over the country’s refusal to participate in the refugee relocation scheme, and threatens to fight the case in court.

“Should it be continued, Poland is prepared to argue its case before the Court of Justice of the European Union,” the Polish foreign ministry said in a statement.

In response, Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said it was up to Poland to comply with the rules. “A possibility that should be considered – and I’m putting this in a very mild and diplomatic way – is for all member states to comply with decisions they themselves have taken,” he said.

In June, the Commission started infringement proceedings against Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary for rejecting the scheme.

Net Migration Falls as E.U. Citizens Leave Britain

The U.K. Office for National Statistics said 122,000 E.U. citizens left Britain in the year up to March 2017, the highest number in almost a decade. Many of them were from the eastern European nations that joined the E.U. in 2004.

The rise in people leaving the country meant that net migration fell to a three-year low of 246,000.

Business leaders have expressed concern about the loss of workers, but the U.K. government, which has pledged to reduce net immigration below 100,000, welcomed the decline.

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