FAZ: 11K asylum seekers left Greece in first half of 2017; Athens promises to take back ‘small number’ of migrants from Germany

9 August 2017
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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Tuesday reported that roughly 11,000 asylum seekers have abandoned Greece in the first half of 2017 for their home countries, with the German mass daily saying repatriated third country nationals that departed hailed from Bangladesh to Albania.

“The mass return to their native countries would not have been possible without the contribution of the migrants themselves and Greek authorities, who had the International Migration Organization (IOM) on their side,” FAZ writes.

The report adds that IOM and the UN’s High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) are active in the region and with a focus on the individual, “and not on political expediencies, as happens, unfortunately, with some NGOs.”

The report coincides with comments on the same day by Greece’s relevant migration Policy Minister, who said Athens would start taking back a “small number” of asylum seekers from Germany.

Thousands of third country nationals landed on various Greek isles over the past two and a half years in a bid to reach preferred destinations in western Europe, many of whom submitted asylum requests there instead of the first EU country they entered, i.e. Greece.

Yiannis Mouzalas told an Athens television station that one standing condition for asylum seekers to be returned to Greece is proper living standards, while referring to a “few hundred” returns.

“We’re demonstrating that when we make demands, we also give something back,” he said, while clarifying that the prospect does not be a reactivation of the partially suspended Dublin II Treaty.

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