EU commission keeps asylum report on Greece secret

Sallie Anderson

The European Commission is declining to launch an initial legal evaluation into Greece’s decision to momentarily shelve asylum applications.

Greece froze applications for a month in early March, following Turkey’s stopped working quote to utilize migrants as political take advantage of after sending out thousands to its side of its shared border with Greece.

The Greek federal government’s unilateral action drew in extensive criticism from both civil society and the United Nations Refugee Company (UNHCR) while the European Commission itself declined to decide.

The commission insisted it first required to study the procedure – a position it continues to preserve nearly 3 weeks after Greece raised the suspension on 1 April and due to the existing pandemic.

Nevertheless, an internal note from the European Commission’s legal service had actually currently been prepared and shown president Ursula von der Leyen quickly after Greece enforced the constraints.

Dated 4 March, the note includes an initial analysis of the national procedures taken by the Greek federal government.

On that very same day, the European Commission stated they remained in talks with Athens to discover more information.

“We are now in dialogue with the Greek authorities to find out what exactly that is,” Ylva Johansson, EU home affairs commissioner informed press reporters.

Margaritis Schinas, a vice-president of the commission in charge of migration, made a more blunt evaluation.

“EU support will be unequivocal,” he stated of Greece.

Extremely delicate

Nevertheless, when asked that the file be launched through a liberty of info demand, the European Commissiondeclined


“The frankness, objectivity and comprehensiveness of the legal advice would be seriously affected if legal advice on highly sensitive subjects, as in the present case, would be disclosed,” it stated.

They likewise argued it might disturb international relations, provided links to the questionable EU- Turkey pact to suppress migration towards Greece.

Von der Leyen held a conference with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on 9 March, in addition to European Council president Charles Michel.

Asked to even more comment on Monday (20 April), a European Commission representative stated final positions are created by the college, describing the weekly round- table conferences of the 27 commissioners.

“It is not because there is an existing paper somewhere as part of the reflection process of the European Commission that necessarily there is a specific opinion of the College that we can communicate,” he stated.

“To our understanding the asylum procedures in Greece right now are functioning as well as they can in the current circumstances.”

Greece’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated his federal government’s relocation was legal.

If there is “emergency situation characterised by a sudden inflow of nationals”,

Mitsotakis states the federal government in early March invoked an article (78.3) within the EU Treaty, which can be activated.

However it should first be based on a proposition by the European Commission with input from the EuropeanParliament No such proposition was advanced.

On The Other Hand, the European Commission has actually provided some updated guidelines on asylum in the context of the pandemic. It states all applications for international security should be signed up and processed, even if with particular hold-ups.

It does not discuss Greece by name, however it does state some guidelines might be avoided “in case of a large number of simultaneous applications.”

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