Monday

27th Jun 2022

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

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

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.

Frontex keeps return operations in Hungary secret

Frontex won't reveal how it complies with rights when it returns rejected asylum seekers from Hungary. The Warsaw-based agency had suspended other operations in Hungary after the EU court in 2020 told Budapest to stop abusing migrants.

Record number of people fleeing violence, says UN

The least developed countries account for less than 1.3 percent of global GDP yet host 27 percent of the world's displaced populations. High-income countries, by comparison, host 16 percent.

News in Brief

  1. Possible terror attack halts gay pride in Norway
  2. Belgian PM: Gas shortage requires joint response
  3. Bulgarian MPs set conditions for lifting enlargement veto
  4. Latvia: We need a brigade-size Nato force to 'feel safe'
  5. Deal reached on controversial energy treaty reform
  6. EU carbon emissions from energy up 6% in 2021
  7. Germany step closer to gas rationing
  8. Albania: EU 'disgrace' at lack of enlargement progress

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. EU summit's uncertainty in the face of economic war
  2. Next winter's gas looms large at EU summer summit
  3. Ukraine becomes EU candidate after 120 days of war
  4. How to enhance EU cybersecurity
  5. Competing options for EU enlargement
  6. MEPs demand to exit 'ecocide treaty' after reforms 'fail'
  7. Finland optimistic in Turkey talks over Nato
  8. Hungary's global-tax veto seen as 'blackmail'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us