Greece warms to EU asylum pact however refugee teams rage


ATHENS: Greece’s authorities has cautiously welcomed a plan from Brussels to reform the EU’s shaky asylum system, however charity teams working with refugees on the bottom have blasted a continued “outrageous containment coverage”.

The New Pact on Migration and Asylum was unveiled on Wednesday and requires a more durable stance on returning migrants who don’t have the suitable to remain within the EU, and ratcheting up border controls.

Such strikes are music to the ears of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ conservative authorities, which has been working a harsh migration coverage since taking energy over a 12 months in the past.

The one flaw from Greece’s perspective is the Fee giving up on quota-based redistribution of asylum seekers amongst EU international locations – a plan first mooted throughout the migration disaster of 2015 however which foundered on opposition from a number of member states.

Wednesday’s pact “goes in the suitable path, our foremost positions are included, however we’re disenchanted on redistribution, we would have most well-liked a unique mannequin,” Greek asylum service secretary Manos Logothetis instructed ERT public tv.

Mitsotakis himself has reiterated requires a “balanced asylum coverage” and highlighted “the necessity to share duties in a good manner”.


Like Italy and Spain, Greece’s place on the EU’s southern edge makes it one of many main factors of arrival within the bloc for migrants.

Its geography has made it a relentless defender of the concept asylum seekers – who arrive virtually day by day on the nation’s Aegean Sea islands from neighbouring Turkey – ought to be shared out pretty.

The Greek authorities has lengthy struggled to handle overcrowding in camps on the 5 islands most affected by the arrivals, particularly for the reason that Moria camp on Lesbos burned down on Sep eight and 9.

Half of the 24,000 migrants packed into Greek camps stay on Lesbos.

Authorities rushed to arrange a provisional website for these left with out shelter by the blaze, however charity teams are already incensed at circumstances there.

“The Fee promised “no extra Moria’, whereas constructing a brand new containment camp in Lesbos, the place circumstances are dire,” tweeted the Authorized Centre Lesbos, which offers authorized info and help to migrants on the island.

Different teams working with migrants on the bottom identified the arduous strains individuals should stand in to obtain one meal per day, the dearth of mattresses and the impossibility of respecting coronavirus an infection management measures like social distancing.

“Now we have constantly uncovered the human price of this outrageous containment coverage to leaders in European capitals, to commissioners in Brussels and to residents by way of the media, however nothing appears to result in a desperately wanted radical coverage change,” Docs With out Borders (MSF) president Christos Christou tweeted.

“Sufficient is sufficient. No extra lies,” he added.

MSF is one in all just a few organisations allowed by Greek authorities to come back to assistance from asylum seekers left to sleep by the aspect of the highway after Moria was destroyed.

To this point virtually 9,400 individuals have moved into the brand new short-term camp on Lesbos, the Greek part of the UN Refugee Company (UNHCR) stated.

Spokeswoman Stella Nanou instructed AFP authorities should “put an finish to the precarious scenario for 1000’s of refugees within the Greek islands and … speed up their protected and orderly switch to acceptable lodging within the mainland”.


Greece has already transferred 1000’s off the islands since early 2020, however the camps stay underneath intense strain.

On Wednesday, Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi stated a camp internet hosting 1,000 susceptible refugees on Lesbos could be closed, in addition to a volunteer-run lodging generally known as Pikpa.

The Pikpa camp was based in 2012 by migrant champion Efi Latsoudi, a joint winner in 2016 of the UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award.

It presently hosts round 100 individuals, providing refugees entry to medical care, training and authorized help.

“Such different lodging amenities ought to be maintained till a extra viable resolution is secured,” UNHCR spokeswoman Nanou stated.


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