26 Tuesday Jul 2016
By Catharina Ziebritzki, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law
This blog post is up to date as of 29 June 2016.
Legal uncertainty seems inherent to the Hotspot system and the “absence of legal clarity, worrying”. The EU-Turkey statement which came into effect on 20 March 2016 has caused major changes to the administrative procedure in the Greek Hotspots. On 1 April 2016, Greek Law 4375 reforming the Asylum System was adopted. Shortly after its last parts took effect on 1 June, it was amended again on 16 June. These recent developments have increased legal uncertainty. The Greek asylum system still suffers from “systemic deficiencies”. This, in combination with the highly politicised nature of recent developments in Greece and the chaotic and tense situation in the Hotspots, has created a significant degree of misinformation, or indeed lack of any information at all, both among potential information providers as well as those that should potentially be entitled to receive information. “Administrative limbo and uncertainty in the Aegean” are the results.
This blog contribution aims to give an overview of the current administrative procedure in the Greek Hotspots and to shed light on some procedural questions. Other crucial issues concerning implementation of the EU-Turkey statement and the Hotspot scheme in general – such as reception conditions which are undeserving of this name, systematic detention since 20 March, detention of unaccompanied minors, conditions of detention and restriction of freedom to an island – are beyond the scope of this article. The anything but decent living conditions however greatly increases the need for working procedures and for asylum-seekers to have information about what will happen to them.