Should refugees be sent back to Greece again?
As of March the European Commission wants to resume the policy of having refugees to the EU who first set foot in Greece transferred back there. This part of the Dublin Regulation was suspended in 2011 because Greek reception centres didn't conform with international standards. Athens is still not prepared for such a move, some commentators warn. Others believe there won't be any transfers even if the plan goes ahead.
Decision only symbolic
The EU Commission's decision that the Dublin Regulation should be resumed is nothing but a symbolic gesture, the Süddeutsche Zeitung comments:
“We must see this recommendation more as an urgent desire. In reality it can hardly be put into practice. The Commission itself says that only very few people will be affected. Firstly, refugees in danger and unaccompanied minors will be exempted, secondly, the other Greece must be able to guarantee human living conditions in every single case. And thirdly the Commission is hoping that irregular migration from Greece to the north will gradually cease altogether. The borders remain closed. Therefore the recommendation from Brussels is of a symbolic nature. It is meant to show that Greece has made progress thanks to help from the EU.”
Athens still doesn't have a strategy
Greece is not prepared for a return to the Dublin Regulation, Naftemporiki warns:
“The Greek authorities don't seem to be in a position to guarantee humane conditions even for refugees who are already here. From the snow-covered refugee camps in Olympos in northern Greece to the overcrowded hotspots in the Aegean to the most recent disaster on Lesbos [where two refugees burned to death in their tent] everything points to the government still regarding the worst refugee crisis in the last half century as a temporary problem, rather than developing a policy to deal with it. It is sticking to the 'scandalous pictures' strategy in the hope that this will move other Europeans to do their bit. But if the Dublin Regulation is resumed, the possibilities for them to do this will be further reduced.”