Friday

12th Apr 2024

Conditions dire at EU-funded migrant camp in Greece

  • The “New Malakasa” camp is funded through the Metoikos project under the EU's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. (Photo: YoungJ523)

Some 1,000 people are living in deplorable conditions in an EU-funded migrant camp on the outskirts of Athens in Greece.

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

It has no running water, with most people living in tents not designed for winter conditions. Power cuts are frequent.

The first reported refugee death in Greece from Covid-19 was a Malakasa-camp resident.

A recent report by Refugee Support Aegean, an NGO, said residents included asylum seekers from Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Syria.

Minos Mouzourakis, a legal officer at the NGO, said none of the 283 children who lived in Malakasa attended school.

"Due to the lack of Wi-Fi access in the facility, children are also unable to follow the current conduct of classes via videoconference," he said, in an email.

The NGO collected testimonies of some of the residents.

They described conditions reminiscent of Moria, a large, ghetto-like camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, which burned to the ground in September.

"There is violence, there is sexual harassment of women … I am scared even to go alone to the toilet after dark," said one Malakasa resident.

Another one told the NGO her family warmed themselves and cooked on a makeshift open fire.

"We have no light. I covered my baby in a jacket and I cannot take it off due to the cold," she said.

The camp is co-financed by the EU, under its Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (Amif).

For its part, the European Commission said it had signed a grant agreement for the camp with the Greek ministry of migration and asylum on 23 November.

"Construction of the camp began in March 2020, following tensions at the Greek-Turkish border. This pre-dates the commission's award, the emergency funding for this project was granted retroactively," an EU commission spokesperson said in an email on 18 December.

Malakasa still needed to be connected to the national electricity network and containers would eventually replace the tents, the spokesman said, but gave no dates.

The commission was monitoring the situation in the camp "with the aim to improve reception conditions and ensure proper temporary shelter for winter", the commission added.

This included setting up large tent-like structures to provide some shelter from cold.

"Release of second pre-financing for this facility is conditional upon the installation of all containers in the camp," the EU spokesman said.

Asylum seeker stuck almost three years in Moria camp

Anny Nganga, an asylum seeker from DR Congo, has been surviving for almost three years in Moria, a camp on Lesbos island that was recently described as the "single most worrying fundamental rights issue anywhere in the European Union".

Interview

Refugee who witnessed Moria fire describes 'hell'

Yousif Al Shewaili, a 21-year old from Iraq who obtained refugee status, witnessed the fires that struck Moria on Tuesday evening. He recounted that at least two people may have died.

Analysis

MEPs set to rubber-stamp new restrictive phase of EU asylum

The European Parliament is set to rubber stamp a new internal EU management system on asylum. Years in the making, the overhaul has been described as a game-changer by EU institutions determined to reach an agreement ahead of June's elections.

EU 'ready' to support Cyprus on Lebanon migration

The EU is ready to offer extra support to Cyprus as the Mediterranean island faces a sharp increase in refugees arriving from Lebanon, a spokesperson for the EU executive told reporters on Thursday (4 April).

EU 'ready' to support Cyprus on Lebanon migration

The EU is ready to offer extra support to Cyprus as the Mediterranean island faces a sharp increase in refugees arriving from Lebanon, a spokesperson for the EU executive told reporters on Thursday (4 April).

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us