Immediate drastic reduction of refugee hosting space on the Aegean Islands and measures for decongesting the islands

Written question – Immediate drastic reduction of refugee hosting space on the Aegean Islands and measures for decongesting the islands – E-007812/2016

18 October 2016
E-007812-16
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Notis Marias (ECR)

 

According to official data, on 29 September 2016, 14 003 refugees and illegal immigrants were in the hotspots of the Aegean Islands, despite the fact that these sites only have space for up to 7 450 people.

As has been pointed out in our Questions E-007329/2016 and E-006374/2016 and acknowledged by the UN High Commissioner, the growing congestion in the above hotspots has led to tensions that threaten the safety of both inhabitants and guests.

However, the agreement resulting from the EU-Turkey meeting on 18 March 2016 provides, among other measures, for an increase in the short-term hosting space on the Aegean Islands from 6 000 to the excessive number of 20 000.

In view of this, and since Decision 2015/1601 of the EU Council concerning the relocation has not been implemented at the desired pace, resulting in Greece facing huge congestion problem in the hosting structures:

1. Does the Commission insist on the creation of the above space for hosting 20 000 people on the Aegean islands?
2. What initiatives will it take, in cooperation with the Greek authorities, to immediately relieve the pressure in the hotspots on the Aegean Islands and thus restore the security of their inhabitants?

 

Answer to a written question – Immediate drastic reduction of refugee hosting space on the Aegean Islands and measures for decongesting the islands – E-007812/2016

22 February 2017
E-007812/2016
Answer given by Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission
The EU-Turkey Statement dated 18 March 2016 does not foresee an increase in the short-term hosting capacity on the Aegean islands from 6 000 to 20 000.

The Greek authorities — in cooperation with the Commission, relevant agencies and stakeholders — are focusing on several measures in order to relieve the pressure and ensure security in the overcrowded hotspots on the Aegean islands. These measures are laid out in the Joint Action Plan(1) agreed between the Commission and Greece, and aim most notably (1) to accelerate the asylum process; (2) to improve coordination, management, safety and security in the islands; (3) to increase the rate of returns of inadmissible migrants including through better incentivised assisted voluntary returns; (4) to create proper shelters including closed facilities on the islands and improve their infrastructure; and (5) to transfer migrants referred to the regular asylum process including vulnerable groups to specific facilities on the mainland.

Moreover, in the hotspots, some specific prevention measures are also implemented such as the provision of information to migrants, the increased deployment of police forces and the adoption of emergency guidelines for every hotspot.

(1) Joint Action Plan of the EU Coordinator on the Implementation of certain provisions of the EU-Turkey Statement, COM(2016) 792 final, Annex 1, Brussels, 8 December 2016.

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