MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Berlin and Athens have agreed to sign a deal on sending migrants, who initially applied for asylum in Greece, back to the Mediterranean state from the German-Austrian border, the German Interior Ministry said on Friday.
"We have reached a consensus with Greece: signing the bilateral agreement on sending back people from the German-Austrian border, who have already applied for asylum in Greece, is imminent," the ministry wrote on its Twitter page.
Last week, Germany and Spain reached a similar agreement providing for the return of migrants, who were originally registered in Spain but then went to Germany. According to German media, Berlin is currently working on a similar deal with Italy.
The deal will ease a German political spat over migration that brought the country's parliament to the brink of collapse. In July, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer’s Christian Social Union (CSU) agreed to establish transit centers that would help speed up deportations by turning away refugees at the German-Austrian border if they had already filed asylum applications in other states. The two officials also agreed to seek bilateral deals on migration with Austria, as well other European states.
Germany, Spain, Greece as well as many other European countries have been suffering from a massive migration crisis since 2015. The crisis is connected to a huge influx of people fleeing armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. Germany currently has the largest share of migrants in terms of total population —12 percent.
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