Germany: BAMF must comply with Dublin timeframes to transfer applicants from Greece

On 15 September 2017, the German Administrative Court of Wiesbaden ruled that the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) must comply with the time limit of six months for carrying out a Dublin transfer as set out in Article 29 of the Dublin III Regulation.

The case concerned a Syrian minor who applied for international protection in Germany and whose family (parents and three siblings) applied for asylum in Greece, where they currently reside. His family has had a pending transfer from Greece to Germany since 30 March 2017, when Germany accepted the “take charge” issued by the Greek Dublin Unit.

Firstly, the Administrative Court recognised the existence of logistical problems in Germany, which poses obstacles to the transferring of the applicants within the required timeframe, and which is under the control of the BAMF. Secondly, it recalled that the minor’s family members have a subjective right to be transferred within the six-month period, as required under Article 29 of the Dublin III Regulation and established by analogy to the Court of Justice of the European Union’s Mengesteab judgment. Thirdly, in reply to the alleged agreements between the German and Greek authorities to establish a cap of transfers and to expand the available timeframe to carry out the transfer without the transfer of responsibility under the Dublin III Regulation, the Court affirmed that this guarantee represents an additional legal claim on behalf of the applicant, but does not have the effect of obviating Germany’s responsibility to execute the transfer within the required time limit of six months. Fourthly, the Court stated that this time limit starts to run from the day the German authorities accepted the “take charge” request, and not from the day the Greek authorities confirmed receipt of that acceptance.

Finally, the Administrative Court  ordered, despite the BAMF’s claim that the transfer of the applicants from Greece to Germany was scheduled for October 2017, that the minor’s family must be transferred before the expiration of the six-month time limit established under the Dublin III Regulation (that is, by 30 September 2017). This decision cannot be appealed.

This article appeared in the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. AIDA would like to thank Meral Zeller, Communications and Events Assistant at ECRE, for her assistance with translating this decision, and Karl Kopp and Mary Lisa Jayaseelan from Pro Asyl for bringing this case to our attention.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti