The German Ministry of Interior confirms the temporary suspension of transfers under the Dublin Regulation to and from all EU Member States due to the Coronavirus. The European Commission and EU Member States will be informed about this decision – an obligation under the Dublin Regulation. Returns to third-countries can still take place.

In practice, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), which is responsible for asylum procedures in Germany, already stopped Dublin transfers last week because of travel restrictions across Europe. The agency clarified that the temporary suspension does not mean that EU Member States are not willing or obliged to implement Dublin transfers but that they are currently not possible. In addition, the temporary suspension does not lead to the expiry of the six months’ time limit for the transfer. The regular six months’ time limit, after which the responsibility of the asylum procedure would pass to Germany, is only on hold.

Ulla Jelpke, German Member of Parliament from the Left party Die Linke, and German NGO PRO ASYL call for a general stop of any returns due to the Coronavirus. PRO ASYL also demands a continuation of the six months’ time limit for Dublin transfers as otherwise the affected asylum-seekers remain in a limbo.

Germany returned 22.097 persons in 2019, thereof 8423 under the Dublin Regulation. Main destinations for returns to third-countries were Albania, Georgia and Serbia. Under the Dublin Regulation, the main destinations for asylum seekers transferred by Germany were Italy and France.

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Photo: (CC) Tim Reckmann, February 2016

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.