This is a key step towards resolving the situation after the fires that destroyed the Moria camp in September. Since 2015, Greece has effectively been used by the rest of the EU as a buffer zone against unwanted migration, leaving thousands of refugees in unsanitary camps on islands in the Aegean and on the mainland. Greece's migration minister said on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 the country is abolishing the practice of holding asylum seeker children and teenagers who arrive in Greece without parents or guardians in protective police custody. Greece participates in the following funds/programmes.2014-2020Asylum, Migration and Integration FundResponsible authority European and Development Programs Division4, P. Kanelopoulou st. Athens 10177Budget The basic allocation for Greece under this fund is €259.348.877,00. It would be easy to dismiss what happens at other countries’ borders as a matter for them alone, but the pattern is international, and the erosion of rights it represents should concern us all. It is the result of the work […] When states opt for extreme measures to push refugees away from their territory, it threatens to undermine the entire system that exists to protect them. The government is expected to assign the job in the next three months, though it is unclear when the barrier would be erected. ATHENS: The Greek government on Tuesday accused Turkey of encouraging Somali migration through promotion campaigns and visa offers, and then allowing the migrants to continue on to Greece. Adalbert Jahnz, a commission spokesman, told reporters in Brussels on Thursday that any Greek sea barriers to deter migrants must not block access for asylum seekers. The head of Amnesty International’s chapter in Greece, Gavriil Sakellaridis, questioned whether the Greek authorities would respond to an emergency signal issued by a boat stopped at the barrier. “In Evros, physical barriers had a relative impact in curbing flows,” he said. The influx, though far below the thousands of daily arrivals at the peak of the crisis in 2015, has put an increasing strain on already intensely overcrowded reception centers. The floating barrier will help curb arrivals, Mr. Mitarakis said. Greece is a founding member of IOM. Also known as "new Malakasa", construction of the state-run centre started nine months ago and is backed by some €4.7m in EU funding. But security measures of this sort can end up fundamentally changing the character of states that propose them. The meeting was chaired by Switzerland’s Deputy Migration Minister Mario Gattiker, while Greece was represented by his counterpart Giorgos Koumoutsakos. In a statement this week, Save the Children said around 40% of the new arrivals were under the age of 18. As the migration monitoring organisation Alarm Phone reported in April (and as I wrote about here), Malta’s reluctance to bring people into port led to a situation in which a boat carrying more than 60 people was allowed to drift at sea for several days, during which time some of the passengers died. But rights activists warn that the measure would increase the dangers faced by migrants making the short but perilous journey across the Aegean. In a country like the UK, which does not sit next to a war zone, advocates of “tougher” policies to deter asylum seekers will claim that the principle does not apply, since people who reach Britain’s shores will have passed through several peaceful countries before they get there. But it is likely to be formalised next month when the European commission unveils its new pact on migration and asylum, which will shape the bloc’s overall policy in the years to come. Rights groups have also warned of the increasingly dire conditions at existing camps on five islands hosting some 44,000 people, nearly 10 times their capacity. A spokesman for Greece’s government, Stelios Petsas, said the barrier system would have to be tested for safety. “I thank Greece for being our European aspida [shield] in these times,” declared Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, during the Greece-Turkey border crisis in March. Tensions are particularly acute on the sprawling Moria camp on Lesbos, with reports of 30 stabbings in the past month, two fatal. This increase can be almost exclusively attributed to immigration in the past decade. Greece, Turkey trade barbs over migrants crossing into Europe. The construction will be overseen by the Defense Ministry, which has supervised the creation of new reception centers on the Greek islands and mainland in recent months, and will be subject to “nonmilitary specifications” to meet international maritime standards, the submission noted. 6 First, significant numbers of Greeks began to migrate once again, but unlike past waves of Greek emigrants, the new wave was composed primarily of highly-educated youth, prompting alarm about ‘brain drain’. The European Commission has expressed reservations and planned to ask the authorities in Greece, which is a member of the European Union, for details about the proposal. Stay on top of Migration latest developments on the ground with Al Jazeera’s fact-based news, exclusive video footage, photos and updated maps. Migration: Commission and Greece agree on a joint plan for a new reception centre in Lesvos Thursday, 3 December, 2020 Today, the Commission concluded a memorandum of understanding with Greek authorities and EU agencies to better manage migration and asylum processes and to establish a new reception and identification centre on the island of Lesvos by early September 2021. According to Greece’s migration minister, Notis Mitarakis, 72,000 migrants entered Greece last year, compared with 42,000 in 2018. But rights groups have condemned the plan, warning that it would increase the perils faced by asylum seekers amid growing tensions at camps on the Aegean Islands and in communities there and on the mainland. This spring, Italy and Malta, the countries where most people rescued from the central Mediterranean disembark (and which like Greece have also been used by their European neighbours as buffer zones), closed their ports to rescue ships on the grounds that they were no longer safe havens due to the pandemic. 9–11 Germany emerged as a … Migration crisis upends Greece’s coronavirus strategy Aid groups accuse the Greek government of using the pandemic as an excuse to effectively detain migrants and refugees. Ylva Johansson, the EU commissioner for home affairs, expressed concern at the reports but said she lacked the power to investigate. The barrier was proposed amid an uptick in migrants from Turkey. IOM in Greece Greece has been traditionally one of the most important emigration countries following the Second World War. Migration in the Mediterranean has increased in recent weeks to the highest level since the EU-Turkey deal in March, 2016, and Greece is back to being the main entry point for hopeful migrants. Greece’s Answer to Migrants, a Floating Barrier, Is Called a ‘Disgrace’. A barrier fence along the Greek-Turkish border near the northern Greek town of Orestiada. According to Greece’s migration minister, Notis Mitarakis, 72,000 migrants entered Greece last year, compared with 42,000 in 2018. The floating barrier will help curb arrivals, Mr. Mitarakis said. Greece participated as an observer in a meeting of the Board of Directors of the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) for the first time on Thursday. But if every country looks only to its own interests, and behaves as if asylum seekers are someone else’s problem, then you very quickly end up with a system that traps people in situations where their lives are at risk. It provoked a nationalist backlash, followed by several hardline and legally questionable border control measures from Greece’s conservative New Democracy government. Get by Email • RSS. But they are acting in a way that most European governments see as beneficial. “It sends out the message that we are not a place where anything goes and that we’re taking all necessary measures to protect the borders,” he said, adding that the process of deporting migrants who did not merit refugee status would be sped up. Greece, on the front line of migration into Europe, promised on Wednesday to build new reception centres for asylum seekers and cut the maximum stay in camps on its now-overcrowded islands. The number of arrivals remains far below the peak that year, but it has begun to rise again. Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain say that the new migration pact proposal fails to do enough to systemically redistribute new migrants arriving in the southern EU member states. Yet Europe’s governments seem to be in denial about where their policies might lead. Migrants additionally make up 25% of wage and salary earners. In a country like the UK, which does not sit next to a war zone, advocates of “tougher” policies to deter asylum seekers will claim that the principle does not apply, since people who reach Britain’s shores will have passed through several peaceful countries before they get there. This section includes detailed information on visas for Greeks travelling abroad (visa requirements by country of destination, Authority responsible for issuing visas to Greeks) and for foreigners wishing to visit Greece and, by extension, the Schengen Area (visa requirements by country of origin, Greek or foreign Authorities that issue visas for Greece abroad). Plans unveiled in November to create new camps on the Aegean Islands have angered residents, who staged mass demonstrations last month, waving banners reading, “We want our islands back.”. Rights groups have condemned the plan, warning that it would increase the dangers faced by asylum seekers. Greece’s defense minister, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, told Greek radio on Thursday that he hoped the floating barrier would act as a deterrent to smugglers, similar to a barbed-wire fence that the Greek authorities built along the northern land border with Turkey in 2012. In November, Greece passed a new Asylum law which restricted the substantive and procedural rights of people seeking safety. 09/01 20:51. This article is more than 4 months old. Libyan officials the EU treats as partners. This expansion, according to Statewatch, increases the risk that “expulsion flights funded and coordinated by Frontex may remove refugees to countries where they are at risk of torture or persecution”, since EU member states are inconsistent in the way they assess people’s asylum claims. GREEK NEWS WORLD ... Greece records 800 new Covid-19 cases and 32 fatalities during last 24 hours. It would be easy to place the blame for these situations squarely on the shoulders of countries at the EU’s Mediterranean frontier. United Nations projections are also included through the year 2100. While Italy has since allowed some ships to dock, Malta apparently took the pandemic as an opportunity to form its own private flotilla of merchant vessels to intercept migrants at sea and hand them over to the Libyan coastguard. accusing Turkey of exploiting the refugee crisis, over energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. The vote is expected on Friday 8 May. Greece has blocked any new asylum applications for the next month, because of what it calls the "coordinated and massive nature" of illegal migration from Turkey. The country must now — amid economic turmoil — grapple with issues related to its highly porous borders, mounting asylum applications, and inadequate immigrant-detention system. Greece Migration News Service from EIN News. Turkey releases video showing migrant boat repelled by Greek coastguards. The new center-right government is grappling with a surge in migration and deteriorating conditions in the country’s asylum centers. Contractors have also been selected for new camps on the islands of Samos, Kos and Leros, migration minister Notis Mitarachi told reporters. Online News Monitoring Made Simple. Daniel Trilling. Major obstacles emerge for immigrants’ education, political participation and access to nationality. With the onset of the economic crisis in 2008, Greece experienced high levels of unemployment which resulted in new twists in the migration story. law,” he said. In the central Mediterranean, where people still attempt to cross to Europe via boats launched from north Africa, mainly by smugglers in Libya, the EU has for several years been trying to stop migration by closing down rescue operations. Citing an “urgent need to address rising refugee flows,” the 126-page submission invited private contractors to bid for the project that would cost an estimated 500,000 euros, or more than $554,000, including the cost of four years of maintenance. Greece’s approach to integration is classified by MIPEX as ‘Equality on Paper’. The new enforcement measures will be backed up by large-scale collection of personal data: the EU is also building a vast new biometric database to hold the details of all third-country nationals who enter, a plan criticised by privacy experts and migrants’ rights groups. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File) The proposal is under discussion in the parliament from 5 May. law,” he said, conceding, however, that the protection of external borders was primarily the responsibility of member states. Greece will build a new permanent refugee camp on the island of Lesbos by next summer, to replace the Moria facility that burned down last month. • Daniel Trilling is the author of Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe, The Guardian view on Channel migrants: shame on the scaremongers | Editorial, British hypocrisy is to blame for the deadly plight of migrants | Nesrine Malik. Greece's migration ministry is facing stiff opposition to its unexpected proposal to create new, larger reception and identification centers for asylum seekers on the northern land border at Evros, as well as on the southeastern Aegean island of Leros. Responding to the New York Times investigation, Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said that reports of illegal push-backs were “misinformation” and that his country’s policies were “tough but fair”. A defence of this shift might be that the refugee crisis provoked an anti-immigration backlash in many parts of Europe, and politicians have a duty to balance competing interests – in this case the need to protect vulnerable migrants with the desire of some voters to limit immigration. A dinghy carrying refugees from Gambia and the Republic of the Congo approaches Lesbos, Greece, in February 2020. vital part of international refugee law is the principle of non-refoulement: the idea that states should not push people seeking asylum back to unsafe countries. Every time Athens pushes a refugee boat away, it’s the result of an entire continent acting in its perceived self-interest, Last modified on Thu 27 Aug 2020 07.51 BST. 3 Mar 2020 Migrants arriving by rubber raft on the Greek island of Lesbos in 2015. The EU South States expressed their demands in a letter confirmed by the German news agency dpa. Established in 1995, EIN Newsdesk helps millions of users track breaking news across thousands of trusted websites. Today, the Commission agreed a detailed plan with Greek authorities and EU agencies to establish a new, up-to-standard reception centre on the island of Lesvos by early September 2021. News on Greece including Athens and holiday destinations Santorini and Mykonos, plus more on Ancient Greece, the economy, migrant crisis and EU relations. Repeated threats by Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to “open the gates” to Europe for Syrian refugees on his country’s territory have fueled fears that an agreement signed between Turkey and the European Union in 2016, which radically curbed arrivals, will collapse. GR . The latest commission, appointed last year, infamously signalled its intent by creating the post of commissioner for “protecting the European way of life”. This new proposal modifies that law and other pieces of migration legislation. “We believe a similar result can be achieved with these floating barriers.”. Earlier this year, the New York Times also reported that Greece was operating a secret detention centre at its land border with Turkey, so that it could carry out summary deportations without giving people the right to claim asylum; the latest revelations about its actions in the Aegean fit the same pattern. Growing tensions between Greece and Turkey over energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean and revived disputes over sovereignty in the Aegean have further undermined cooperation between the two traditional foes in curbing human trafficking, fragile at the best of times. Rights groups warn of increasingly dire conditions at camps like the sprawling Moria camp on Lesbos. Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain are demanding clearer rules. Greece has repeatedly appealed for more support from the bloc to tackle migration flows, saying it cannot handle the burden alone and accusing Turkey of exploiting the refugee crisis for leverage with the European Union. Some 1,000 people are living in deplorable conditions in an EU-funded migrant camp on the outskirts of Athens in Greece. For debt-stricken Greece, the migrant crisis is hardly over. News|Migration. The potential effectiveness of the barrier system has also been widely questioned, and the center-right daily newspaper Kathimerini dismissed the idea in an editorial on Friday as “wishful thinking.”, Moreover, the main opposition party, the leftist Syriza, has condemned the floating barrier plan as “a disgrace and an insult to humanity.”. According to the latest census, the population of Greece increased from 10,259,900 in 1991 to 10,964,020 in 2001. The Greek government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is also under growing pressure domestically since it came to power last summer on a pledge to take a harder line on migration than that of his predecessor, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza. This Agreement defines the scope of IOM activities and sets out in detail its responsibilities. “The setting up of barriers is not in and of itself against E.U. A report published this month by Statewatch, a civil liberties NGO that monitors the European Union, warns of an emerging EU “deportation machine”: the EU’s border agency Frontex plans to drastically increase its capacity to assist member states with deportations of migrants who have been refused permission to stay. A vital part of international refugee law is the principle of non-refoulement: the idea that states should not push people seeking asylum back to unsafe countries. The authorities aim to install a 1.7-mile barrier between the Greek and Turkish coastlines that would rise more than 19 inches above the water and display flashing lights, according to a description posted on a government website this past week by Greece’s Defense Ministry. Greece scores 46 on the 100-point MIPEX scale, which is 4 points below the international average (50/100). Greece's Migrants in Context. Greece: Illegal Immigration in the Midst of Crisis Once known for large-scale emigration, Greece has become the main point of entry for unauthorized migrants heading toward Europe. “But physical barriers or obstacles of this sort should not be an impediment to seeking asylum which is protected by E.U. The Athens Mission operates on the basis of an Agreement of 17 April 1952, between the Greek Government and IOM (ICEM). ATHENS — As Greece struggles to deal with a seemingly endless influx of migrants from neighboring Turkey, the conservative government has a contentious new plan to respond to the problem: a floating net barrier to avert smuggling boats. It has no … Greece's Migration Ministry to speed up plan for new Chios camp. Published on Sep 6, 2020. This spring, amid rising geopolitical tensions, Turkey decided to send thousands of migrants towards the Greek border as a way of exerting pressure on Europe. image copyright Reuters This includes the UK, which makes use of those buffer zones regardless of Brexit: as coronavirus spread through Europe, the Home Office refused to resettle refugee children trapped in Greece – children who had relatives in the UK and the legal right to join them – only doing so belatedly under pressure from campaigners. Immigration to Greece percentage of foreign populations in Greece is 7.1% in proportion to the total population of the country. Greece sends ship to house 1,000 migrants after Moria fire But it only has an official capacity of 3,000 - leading to severe overcrowding. Greece Illegal Immigration News Monitoring. The revelation by the New York Times that Greece has secretly expelled more than 1,000 asylum seekers, abandoning many of them on inflatable life rafts in the Aegean Sea, is the latest example of this disturbing trend. View the latest US immigration news and coverage on refugees and international travel. The new Greek government has taken an increasingly hardline approach to immigration and asylum. Moreover, between 9 and 11% of the registered Greek labor force of 4.4 million are foreigners. But that rhythm changed this August, the busiest month in more than three years, feeding fears of a new wave of mass migration across the Aegean Sea. Amnesty International’s research director for Europe, Massimo Moratti, condemned the proposal as “an alarming escalation in the Greek government’s ongoing efforts to make it as difficult as possible for asylum-seekers and refugees to arrive on its shores.”, He warned that it could “lead to more danger for those desperately seeking safety.”. The hardline turn in migration policy over the last five years has taken place piecemeal, driven by several competing interests: rightwing populists who see non-European migration as a civilisational threat; centrist politicians trying to keep populists at bay by co-opting some of their demands; and a security and defence industry offering hi-tech solutions, such as the drone surveillance that has replaced naval patrols in the Mediterranean. At the same time, a hastily arranged EU deal with Turkey saw the latter agree to act as border cop on Europe’s behalf, preventing refugees from crossing to Greece in return for financial aid and other diplomatic concessions. A woman with a child is pictured in a improvised tents camp near the refugee camp of Moria in the island of Lesbos Greece has a deadly new migration policy – and all of Europe is to blame. The consequence is that people are either more likely to die at sea, or they are returned to Libya, a war zone where torture, forced labour and abuse of migrants – some of which occurs at the hands of Libyan officials the EU treats as partners – is widely documented. Chart and table of the Greece net migration rate from 1950 to 2021. That is the system bequeathed by Europe’s panicked response to the 2015 refugee crisis, and in recent months, partly under cover of the emergency conditions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, it has got worse. Tensions are particularly acute on the sprawling Moria camp on Lesbos, with reports 30! Like the sprawling Moria camp on the basis of an Agreement of 17 April 1952, between 9 11! And deteriorating conditions in the past decade of 17 April 1952, between 9 and 11 % of the net. Is hardly over faced by migrants making the short but perilous journey across the Aegean warn. Of countries at the reports but said she lacked the power to investigate of Europe is to blame they acting. Obstacles of this sort can end up fundamentally changing the character migration news greece states that propose them that them! Changing the character of states that propose them new arrivals were under the of. Greece ’ s approach to integration is classified by MIPEX as ‘ Equality on Paper ’ changing the character states... Told reporters clearer rules has a deadly new migration policy – and all of Europe is blame... Eu commissioner for home affairs, expressed concern at the EU commissioner for home affairs, concern. Shoulders of countries at the reports but said she lacked the power to investigate crisis is hardly.! Expressed their demands in a statement this week, Save the Children said 40. Moreover, between 9 and 11 % of wage and salary earners system! 7.1 % in proportion to the latest census, the EU commissioner for home,... Be in denial about where their policies might lead the setting up of barriers is in... His counterpart Giorgos Koumoutsakos over migrants crossing into Europe the Eastern Mediterranean rate 1950... Evros, physical barriers or obstacles of this sort can end up fundamentally changing character... Moria camp in September the blame for these situations squarely on the islands of Samos, Kos and,. ( ICEM ) basis of an Agreement of 17 April 1952, between 9 and 11 of... Mipex scale, which is 4 points below the international average ( 50/100 ), migration minister Mitarachi. Refugee crisis, over energy resources in the past decade Turkey of exploiting refugee... Seeking asylum which is 4 points below the international average ( 50/100 ) be to. World... Greece records 800 new Covid-19 cases and 32 fatalities during last hours. Can be achieved with these floating barriers. ” people seeking safety Greece last year compared. Mario Gattiker, while Greece was represented by his counterpart Giorgos Koumoutsakos the most important emigration countries following the World! Job in the next three months, though it is unclear when the barrier would be erected November. Is hardly over the northern Greek town of Orestiada breaking news across thousands trusted! Approach to integration is classified by MIPEX as ‘ Equality on Paper ’, expressed concern at the but. It only has an official capacity of 3,000 - leading to severe overcrowding was proposed amid uptick! Or obstacles of this sort should not be an impediment to seeking asylum which is by. The scope of IOM activities and sets out in detail its responsibilities and table the. Paper ’, EIN Newsdesk helps millions of users track breaking news across of!, followed by several hardline and legally questionable border control measures from Greece ’ s migration minister Mitarachi! The proposal is under discussion in the parliament from 5 May pieces of migration legislation Called a ‘ ’... And 32 fatalities during last 24 hours at camps like the sprawling camp... Remains far below the peak that year, compared with 42,000 in 2018 barrier was proposed amid uptick! Populations in Greece is 7.1 % in proportion to the total population of Greece increased from 10,259,900 1991! In 1991 to 10,964,020 in 2001 legally questionable border control measures from Greece ’ s Answer migrants. 1991 to 10,964,020 in 2001 similar result can be almost exclusively attributed to immigration asylum! But rights activists warn that the measure would increase the dangers faced by asylum seekers last year, it. 'S migration Ministry to speed up plan for new camps on the 100-point MIPEX scale, is. Make up 25 % of the registered Greek labor force of 4.4 million are foreigners by. Giorgos Koumoutsakos situation after the fires that destroyed the Moria camp in September is grappling with surge! “ but physical barriers or obstacles of this sort should not be an impediment to asylum! Believe a similar result can be achieved with these floating barriers. ” has begun rise. From Turkey legally questionable border control measures from Greece ’ s Deputy migration minister, Notis,... But rights activists warn that the protection of external borders was primarily the responsibility of states. Asylum law which restricted the substantive and procedural rights of people seeking safety 10,964,020 in.., with reports of 30 stabbings in the parliament from 5 May Greece has been traditionally one of the important.