Question: Refoulement at the Greek-Turkish land border

In order to be able to exercise my parliamentary control function as a Member of the European Parliament, I have the opportunity to put questions to the European Commission. The Commission must answer these questions.
On 3/23/2020, I received answers from the Commission to the following questions:

Question for written answer E-004588/2019 to the Commission

Subject: Rejections at the Greek-Turkish land border

On December 12, 2019, the news magazine published. The mirror a video documenting illegal refoulement at the Greek-Turkish land border in the Evros region [1] . This video is the clearest evidence to date of the implementation of such refoulements. The Greek government has been repeatedly accused of illegally transferring asylum seekers back to Turkey. In a November 2018 report, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights expressed deep concern about ongoing and documented allegations of collective deportations to Turkey. Non-governmental organizations have published a large number of testimonies of persons deported in the Evros region. UNHCR continues to receive numerous credible reports of alleged refoulements. Although documented refoulements at the Greek-Turkish land border are increasing, the Greek authorities deny the allegations.

  1. Such refoulement is an unlawful violation of the Geneva Convention, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and European asylum law. What has the Commission done so far to prevent such violations at the Greek-Turkish border?
  2. Will the Commission take into account the video published by the news magazine Der Spiegel as solid evidence of the rejections?
  3. Is the Commission considering initiating infringement proceedings, given the apparent lack of intention on the part of the Greek authorities to carry out a proper investigation?

Answer from Commissioner Ylva Johansson
on behalf of the European Commission:

In accordance with Article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the right to asylum is guaranteed in accordance with the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 relating to the status of refugees and in accordance with the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

third-country nationals, who, on arrival at the external borders of the Member States, do not fulfil the entry conditions conditions of entry on arrival at the external borders of the Member States and do not apply for asylum they have the opportunity to do so, may be refused entry by the EU Member States. may be refused entry by EU Member States. However, the modalities and conditions of the Schengen Borders Code[1] and the principle of non-refoulement. In addition, the return of irregular migrants by national irregular migrants by national authorities on the basis of individual return decisions and in full respect of EU and international law. international law. According to Article19 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, collective expulsions are not permitted.

The Commission is is aware of allegations of refoulement from Greece to Turkey. In November2019 , the Director-General of the Directorate-General for Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs wrote to the Greek authorities requesting updates on the status of ongoing investigations, including by the Greek Ombudsman, and on other general measures taken by the general measures taken by the Greek authorities. The Commission is closely monitoring the situation.

[1] Regulation (EU)2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of borders by persons.