Thursday

21st Jun 2018

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join 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.

Investigation

How to get around the EU posted workers directive

Some EU careworkers in Belgium receive around €400 a month - despite their carers paying €2,500 a month and paying for flights and accommodation. The answer lies in how firms can skirt the safeguards in the EU's posted workers directive.

Opinion

EU needs comprehensive 'sexuality education'

The subject is mandatory by law in some form in nearly all EU countries - but it is mostly reproduction- and biology-centred, covering topics such as unwanted pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us