Close to 50,000 people who were granted refugee protection in Greece have applied for asylum in Germany, Germany's interior ministry said. Out of 8,000 applications processed so far, nine in ten have reportedly been approved.
48,756 refugees have re-applied for asylum in Germany after having been granted protection in Greece, figures from the end of May show. That's according to the Sunday edition of the newspapers of the Funke Media Group citing information from the federal interior ministry.
According to the newspaper report, the asylum applications had been put on hold at Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) for a few months and were given a lower priority.
BAMF had stopped processing the applications from Greece after the German courts said deportees must not be returned because their basic needs would not be met in Greece. Had EU asylum rules applied, however, the applications would have been decided as 'inadmissible' and the asylum seekers would have been sent back to Greece.
In late March, news magazine Spiegel reported that BAMF had plans to start processing the asylum applications.
By now, one in six of the close to 50,000 applications in Germany -- almost 8,000 -- have been decided, according to the ministry. The majority of them were approved, despite the applicants already having refugee status in Greece: According to the interior ministry, the protection rate was 89%, meaning close to 7,200 applications were approved. Close to 41,000 applications were pending.
'Irregular secondary migration'
While European Union law allows recognized refugees to travel to another EU country for up to 90 days, it is not allowed to again apply for asylum in the EU in a different EU country. However, the purpose of a journey is reportedly not always apparent to border authorities that are required to check the purpose of a visit.
Authorities refer to this phenomenon as 'irregular secondary migration.'
Alexander Throm, a member of Parliament for the conservative CDU/CSU fraction, called the secondary migration from Greece a "very serious issue." The government coalition wasn't doing anything to stop the "invalid," double asylum lodging in Germany, he told the Funke Media Group newspapers.
Throm called on the government to increase the pressure on Greece so it would ensure a "sufficient social standard."
The federal interior ministry pointed out that its "explicit goal" was to reduce irregular secondary migration in the EU. At the same time, it was up to each member state to make sure that European standards were met, according to a ministry spokesperson.
Other member states would rely on this, the spokesperson added. According to the ministry, it is the responsibility of the European Commission to guarantee that EU law was observed.
According to the German government, around 2,000 refugees currently remain in the refugee camps on the Greek Islands in the Aegean Sea.