Thursday

7th Jul 2022

Greece opens first migrant detention centre

  • Greece set up its first detention centre for migrants on 29 April (Photo: UNHCR)

Greece on Sunday (29 April) set up its first detention centre for undocumented migrants, composed of box homes, surrounded by high wire, and meant to house some 1,200 people

Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said the centre - situated in Amygdaleza, northwest of Athens - will help the country to deal with immigration. Athens expects to build another 50 similar centres between now and mid-2013.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“With Amygdaleza we have proven that a government can and should work even a few days before elections,” tweeted Chrysochoidis, with elections taking place on Sunday.

Protestors stood outside the camp holding banners reading “no to the degradation of our region.” The detainees are allowed outside the camp during the day, reports the BBC.

Athens has been struggling to contain and process some estimated 130,000 migrants who cross into the country by sea or along the porous Turkish border every year.

"We are sending a message in every direction that the country is not unfenced anymore," Chrysohoidis said at a rally in Athens.

Earlier in the month, Chrysohoidis said they are nearing completion of a three-metre-high barrier to stem the flow of crossings along a 12.5km-long strip of land with Turkey.

According to Frontex, the EU’s border agency, some 6,000 people a month were crossing into Greece last summer along the strip. In September alone last year, the Hellenic Police arrested 7,052 immigrants along the Greek-Turkish land border.

Turkey has so far resisted signing a readmission agreement with the EU whereby migrants crossing into Greece would be sent back over the border. It is instead holding out for a relaxed EU visa regime.

Immigrants an election issue

With Greece unable to house them, many migrants are forced onto the streets. They provide an easy target for political parties campaigning for the far-right vote.

Others are stopped in the streets of Athens and ushered into police vans if they have no identity cards. The Hellenic Police report authorities arrested over 67,000 migrants for illegal residence and entry in the first nine months of 2011 alone.

A poll conducted by To Vima newspaper on 9 April found around 90 percent surveyed believe immigrants are responsible for the rise in violence and crime.

The resentment towards immigrants and undocumented migrants has fuelled support for the xenophobic former fringe movement,the Golden Dawn party.

Headed by Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the Golden Dawn say all irregular migrants should be deported. They also want to place landmines along the Greek-Turkish border.

Golden Dawn also organise security patrols in immigrant-dense neighbourhoods in Athens and hand out food and clothing to impoverished Greeks.

“Only men and women of Greek descent and consciousness should have full political rights,” proclaims Golden Dawn’s charter.

The party will take part in Sunday's election, and is expected to break the three percent threshold to enter parliament.

EU stands aside as Hungary detains migrants

Commission is withholding action on Hungary's detention of asylum seekers, even as the Hungarian government tries to "stop Brussels" on immigration policy.

Is Orban holding out an olive branch to EPP?

It is Tibor Navracsics, an ex-EU commissioner and minister without portfolio in Orban's new government, who was reportedly picked to work on closer relations between Fidesz and the European People's Party.

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

News in Brief

  1. Report: British PM Johnson to resign today
  2. British PM defiant amid spate of resignations
  3. France says EU fiscal discipline rules 'obsolete'
  4. Russia claims untouchable status due to nuclear arsenal
  5. Catalan MEPs lose EU court case over recognition
  6. 39 arrested in migrant-smuggling dragnet
  7. France to nationalise nuclear operator amid energy crisis
  8. Instant legal challenge after ok for 'green' gas and nuclear

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Is Orban holding out an olive branch to EPP?
  2. EU should freeze all EU funds to Hungary, says study
  3. Legal action looms after MEPs back 'green' nuclear and gas
  4. EU readies for 'complete Russian gas cut-off', von der Leyen says
  5. Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response
  6. Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia
  7. 'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements
  8. Greece defends disputed media and migration track record

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us