Monday

20th Feb 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“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.

Dutch plan global fund for safe abortion

The Dutch want to lead efforts to make up the shortfall in aid for safe abortions around the world, after Donald Trump announced the US would not fund such projects.

EU to tighten rules on social benefits

EU citizens working away from their home countries will face tougher hurdles if they need to claim benefits, under plans from the commission.

Visual Data

EU farming policy: The damage done by 20 years of inertia

The EU Commission will ask the public later this week how the common agricultural policy should be overhauled. Data from the past two decades reveals a catalogue of missed chances and failed reforms.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  4. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  5. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  8. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  9. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  10. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  11. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content
  12. Belgrade Security ForumBSF 2017: Building a Common Future in the Age of Uncertainty