Unaccompanied Refugee Children in Greece and Their right to Family Reunification with family members in other EU countries: An explorative and explanatory study of the implementation of Dublin Regulation in Greek national legislation
Unaccompanied children/minors (UAC) represents a large proportion of the demography of refugees in Greece, and many of them have families in other EU countries they wish to be reunited with. However, the increasingly closed borders and restricted freedom of movement in Greece have limited the possibility to reach family members in the EU. UAC’s are consequently profoundly dependent on Greek authorities to facilitate a family reunification process. The purpose of this thesis is to explore how UAC’s right to family reunification has been implemented in Greek law (Law 4375/2016) from EU law (Dublin Regulation No 604/2013), and explain what the reasons could be for potential gaps in implementation. This purpose is divided into two research questions: (1) The explorative part, to find how UAC’s right to family reunification is expressed in the legal instruments and if there is a difference between them?; (2) The explanatory part, what reasons could there be for any potential gaps in the implementation? This thesis has found that UAC’s right to family reunification is recognised in both legal instruments and that the Greek law technically satisfies the requirements of the Dublin Regulation. However, the Greek law establishes a process that can postpone the initiation of a family reunification procedure without a maximum time limit, and this cannot be in line with the “best interest of the child”. By using the Implementation Theory and its method Casual Mechanisms, this study has found that the lack of State Capacity (resources) is a profound reason for this implementation gap in Greek law.
Unaccompanied (refugee) children/minors
“best interest of the child”