German authorities confirmed on Tuesday that it will be sending more Syrian refugees back to the first EU country they entered from, prior to their entrance to Germany, in-line with the Dublin regulation.
The government aims to "return to orderly procedure" concerning refugees, with measures including temporary border controls and the Dublin agreement, the Interior Ministry confirmed.
However, the decision will not apply to Greece, which is one of the main entry points into the European bloc, since the reception capacities are stretched and living conditions for refugees are deemed too poor.
"Germany is currently applying the Dublin regulation for all countries of origin and all member states [except Greece]" the ministry said in an emailed statement, adding that, since Oct. 21, Dublin rules have also applied to "Syrian nationals.”
The impact of the latest change in Germany’s refugee policy is still unclear, as the Interior Ministry did not specify whether it would start sending back refugees to Austria, Hungary, or Croatia.
The German government intends to conduct the decision on a case-by-case basis, and to take into account whether transferring the refugees back to other EU countries is a "realistic possibility," according to officials.
October saw 1,777 refugees that were sent back to other EU countries due to the Dublin rules - 5.6 percent of all decisions on refugee status made that month, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) reported.
Out of all asylum decisions made so far this year, 17,410 - just 8.5 percent - of asylum seekers were sent back under the Dublin rules.
In October, 181,166 refugees arrived in Germany, of which 88,640 were Syrian.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, along with his office, have been pushing for tighter controls on refugee policies recently, causing serious fractures within Germany's coalition government.
And this move is a U-turn on the refugee policy that has been followed since August, and a new indicator of tension in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition.
"The Interior Ministry is about to completely cripple the Office for Migration and Refugees," the head of Pro Asyl group, Gunter Burkhardt, stated.
"Returning so many people to Hungary or Croatia is inhumane and, at the same time, unrealistic," Burkhardt added.
The German Parliament will be discussing the reinstatement of the Dublin regulations during Wednesday's session, according to the DPA report, as the German opposition and the centre-left coalition partner, the SPD, has allegedly criticised the changes over the refugee policy.