Migrant Crisis – EU eyes bigger role of Greek government under pressure over Refugees influx
For his comeback in the European arena, the Greek government under pressure over refugees influx, Wednesday, September 23, at the extraordinary summit of heads of state and European government devoted to the migration crisis.
The Greece is, with the Italy, one of the major refugees entry points in Europe. It is regularly criticized for not doing enough to keep its borders. But Athens denies being particularly lax.
“We have dozens of islands to Turkey and hundreds of kilometers of coastline to monitor, said a ministry official in charge of migration policy . The Turkish smugglers sent us dozens of boats every day by the sea. Once in our waters , we can not return , refoulement is prohibited under international conventions, and it is now more than eighty -Ten percent of refugees seeking asylum, not mere economic migrants. Our battle is not so much to stop them, what we can not do without the cooperation of Turkey as host decently. “
“Definitely out of all repressive”
Alexis Tsipras has also named his new government as Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas, an obstetrician gynecologist respected in Greece. Choose a man passed by Doctors of the World and known to be a good manager of humanitarian crises symbolizes direction that the Prime Minister wants to give the political migration of his country.
“This is out definitely all that characterized the repressive actions of previous Conservative governments, says a ministerial source. Enclose refugees in camps for they see them is not the solution. This is now their permit to cross our country in the best conditions possible, because very few wish to seek asylum here. “
In fact, the majority of the approximately two hundred thirty-five miles arrivals in Greece since the beginning of the year have already been distributed, via Macedonia and Serbia and then Hungary, to the countries of northern Europe known generous and above all better equipped, and more prosperous.
“We must also improve and accelerate our asylum procedures here in Greece, because now, with the quota policy, thousands of refugees granted asylum on our soil will be accommodated in other European countries”, explains our interlocutor.
Only 8 000 asylum applications filed
Greece will indeed benefit from more than fifty thousand ” relocations ” additional asylum seekers from its territory to other EU countries , as proposed by the European Commission, confirmed Tuesday, September 22 in Brussels.
However, not easy to convince the thousands of Syrians or Afghans who arrive each day on the Greek coast that their dream of Germany or Sweden can now very well start by filing for asylum in Greece.
“They do not believe us when we tell them that things are moving in Europe and they no longer necessarily need to start their family on the dangerous road of the Balkans”, recognizes a volunteer lawyer who advises the refugees. Today, according to UNHCR, only eight thousand applications were filed in Greek asylum service.
Implementation of registration centers
Beyond the issue of quotas has divided many Europeans, the other big idea, especially supported by France, is the creation of “hot spots” in the country of entry into the territory of the Union . “This is for the identification and registration centers that would separate the asylum seekers for economic migrants,” says Grigoris Apostolou, the liaison chief in Athens Frontex, the EU agency for external border management.
On 15 July, the European Commissioner for Immigration, Dimitris Avramopoulos sent to member states of the European Union a roadmap on the creation of such centers in Italy and Greece. In Italy, four ports, Pozzallo, Porto Empedocle, Trapani and Lampedusa, depend on a headquarters based in Catania, Sicily.
“A similar system should be established in Greece with headquarters in the port of Piraeus and antennas in the islands of the Aegean, says Apostolou. We now await the decisions of the new government, which must provide buildings that accommodate two screening operations. “
Solidarity effort on the part of other countries
Petros Mastakas, High Commission for refugees, the development of hot spots can not be decided in panic because Greece is not equipped to house migrants time recording operations. “There is no reception camps or on islands or in Athens or Thessaloniki. How can Greece finance the construction of shelters to accommodate three hundred thousand people? Frontex she will empower? Send staff? Nothing is clear yet, “says Mr. Mastakas.
“The only thing clear is that it comes to ninety percent of refugees and not economic migrants. And even for them, how to send them home? Greece crisis has not only the means to manage this situation. “
It is there that the plea should be Wednesday night in Brussels, Alexis Tsipras, who asks a solidarity effort on the part of the other EU countries face a phenomenon that extends far beyond Greece.
Little requested European aid
Partners should, themselves, this helps match the rapid implementation of these famous hot spots. Some countries, such as Hungary Viktor Orban, do not hesitate to call for radical measures. Athens impose a corps of European border guards, although Hungarian sources in Brussels acknowledge that this is not realistic in the short term. Get a deal twenty-eight on the formation of such a body would take years. And the Commission repeated in every key that it is in the sovereignty of Greece and “we can not force a country to something he did not ask.”
Many in Brussels, off, complain that Greece has not requested further European aid to which it is entitled. At the end of August, Athens had only received 30 million euros from Brussels to deal with the flow of refugees out of a total available envelope of EUR 470 million.