German police checking documents at the border
German police checking documents at the border

Berlin and Madrid have reached a bilateral agreement to send migrants back to Spain in case they have filed for asylum in Spain prior to arriving in Germany. The deal would take effect on August 11, the German Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

The deal reached with Spain applies to asylum seekers who have applied for asylum in Spain with their data recorded in the European Dactyloscopy (Eurodac) fingerprint database prior to entering Germany. 

German interior ministry spokesperson Eleonore Petermann said that migrants picked up at German border controls who previously registered in Spain will be returned there within 48 hours. The agreement will come into effect on August 11.

This return procedure refers to the European Union's Dublin regulation that stipulates asylum seekers must be sent back to the EU member state in which they first applied for asylum. The rules had been suspended due to the large influx of refugees to Europe in 2015 and 2016. 

 As the German press agency dpa reports, the German government had not made any concessions in return for Spain's agreement to take the migrants back. 

Talks with Greece, Italy ongoing

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been seeking to close bilateral agreements with other EU countries to avoid unilateral moves by her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to reject migrants arriving at German borders.  

The German interior ministry added that talks with Greece and Italy are ongoing. Both countries are vital partners for the German government's scheme as most migrants who have reached European soil over the last three years first arrived in either Greece or Italy.

 

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