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    Migrants arrive at the first registration point for asylum seekers in Erding near Munich, southern Germany, on November 15, 2016

    ‘Numbers Aren’t That Impressive Compared to Amount of People Coming in' – Prof

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    According to a German Interior Ministry report cited by a German daily newspaper, the country has deported more refugees to other EU members than ever before. Sputnik has discussed this with Dr Werner Patzelt, a leading expert on right-wing movements and political science professor at the Technical University in Dresden.

    Sputnik: Why are we witnessing this growing number of deportations? What is this spike showing us?

    Werner Patzelt: First of all, we should underline that the numbers aren't really impressive because compared with the number of refugees having come to Germany this is really no more than a tiny number.

    The second issue is that there has been significant pressure from domestic politics to avoid the situation that we have witnessed in Germany for many months, if not years that we were open for entry in the country but we didn't find any means to bring people out of the country who weren't entitled to stay here.

    The third element is that it is a case that in the European Union, particularly in the Schengen area, we have no border controls and therefore there is no guarantee whatsoever that deported immigrants would not come back one day. The only solution of the problem would be a clear registration in the electronic systems when these people apply for social security and so on such that we can make sure that nobody can live in a country without legal status for staying there.

    Sputnik: There are certain countries like Italy, that's a primary destination for deported asylum seekers, while Greece rejected a vast majority of requests that were made; Hungary received none of the refugees. What is the relationship of Germany like with these countries because surely the deportations are not sitting well with these countries?

    Werner Patzelt: We have an agreement with Italy that refugees who have been registered first in Italy may be sent back by the German authorities if they find such refugees and have technical possibilities to bring them back.

    We have no such agreement with Greece so far; and since Italy is closer to Germany, they are only separated by Austria, the German interest of bringing the refugees back to Italy has been much larger than the interest vis-à-vis of Greece where so many other countries are in the way between Greece and Germany such that pressure is not so important in the case of Greece.

    In addition, whereas Italy has managed to protect its coasts and ports from immigration by boat people, Greece still has to accept many refugees on her islands such that it's easier to come to agreements with Italy right now than to come to an agreement with Greece.

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    Sputnik: To what extent do you think this regulation could drive the countries we've just mentioned, perhaps, further away from the bloc and its rules? Could this happen?

    Werner Patzelt: Italy is quite content with the fact that only insignificant numbers of refugees still come to Italy and stay there due to the protection of the coast and the non-acceptance of boat people in Italian ports.

    The situation is different in Greece, and Italy in contrast to Greece knows quite well that in the coming months Italy is in need of substantial German financial support due to Italian budget problems.

    So it's really a mix of different layers of political issues, which come into the game and migration politics is only a part — an important part, but only one part — of the overall complex.

    READ MORE: German Bundestag Votes to Join UN Global Migration Pact — Reports

    Sputnik: What is your personal opinion of this Dublin 3 agreement? There's an opinion out there that it's quite a controversial agreement as it puts a certain disproportionate pressure on some countries.

    Werner Patzelt: In theory and on paper it's a great agreement, and in theory and on paper it can work. But the precondition of its ability to work properly is the protection of the borders of the European Union, which hasn't been effectuated for a long time.

    At present we see growing pressure on Spain by refugees, and the Eastern European countries never have accepted that they should accept refugees who they want to prevent from coming to Europe at all. Therefore, although the Dublin agreement is quite good in theory, in practice it works as something of an explosive in the framework of the European Union because clearly contrasts of national interests become visible vis-à-vis the migration issue.

    Sputnik: It's a kind of a controversial agreement; do you think the system could be reviewed to some degree?

    Werner Patzelt: The system can be reviewed and there is much talk about reviewing it. But the review is not the problem. The solution of the basic problem is the challenge. And the basic problem is to stop immigration into Europe and to bring people out of Europe who aren't entitled to stay there. And for this basic problem, there is no solution whatsoever in sight.

    Views and opinions, expressed in the article are those of Werner Patzelt and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik

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