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Home Department written question – answered on 2nd November 2011.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her assessment is of the extent of progress by the Greek government in implementing its National Action Plan for Managed Migration and Asylum Reform; and when she expects to be able to resume Dublin regulation returns of asylum seekers from the UK to Greece.

Photo of Damian Green Damian Green The Minister for Immigration

holding answer 1 November 2011

Since publication of the Greek Action Plan on Managed Migration and Asylum Reform last year there have been some notable improvements to the overall asylum system. These include an increase in the recognition of refugee status from less than 1% to 12% and improvements in training for decision makers, qualifications for interpreters and developments to reception facilities for unaccompanied minors. The Greek Ministry of Citizen Protection has also appointed directors for the newly established Asylum Service and First Reception Service which are due to be up and running next year.

However, there is still much more progress needed and the Government remains concerned about the lack of improvements to the poor detention conditions, particularly at the Greek-Turkish border. We will continue to apply pressure on Greece to treat this area as a matter of urgency.

Successful delivery of the Greek Action Plan will ensure that Greece meets its international obligations towards asylum seekers. We will monitor the situation and progress made. When it is clear to us that Greece is meeting its obligations in practice, and that as a result the criticisms detailed in the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on 21 January 2011 in the case of MSS v. Belgium and Greece have been addressed, we will seek to resume Dublin Regulation returns.

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