Question: Report of the Greek Transparency Authority

I asked the EU Commission on 25.05.2022 what it thinks about the fact that the Greek authorities immediately take arriving protection seekers into deportation custody and lock them in a prison that they are not allowed to leave. The Commission responds that it is aware of this practice and that it is also legally justifiable if less drastic measures do not work. These „less restrictive measures“ are not applied, however, and would also have to be subject to a case-by-case review – which they currently are not.

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My request

On May 10, 2022, Greece's National Transparency Authority published an investigative report on suspected refoulements, describing, among other things, the process for managing the flow of asylum seekers reaching Greek territory by land or sea.

  • In the light of Article 6 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Articles 8 and 9 of the Reception Conditions Directive, what is the Commission's view of Greece's practice of placing new arrivals in detention pending their transfer to a reception and identification center in the Evros region (p. 23/24)?
  • Taking into account Article 6 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Articles 8 and 9 of the Reception Conditions Directive, what is its view of the practice whereby applicants are kept in the facility for up to 25 days from registration during the reception and identification procedures, but are not allowed to leave the facility because they are in detention (p. 29)?
  • How are statistics collected on "prevention" (p. 56) and how many cases of prevention were recorded by the Greek authorities in 2021? Please provide a breakdown by police directorate (Alexandroúpoli, Orestiada, North Aegean and Dodecanese).

Answer given by Ylva Johansson on behalf of the European Commission on 3.08.2022

The Commission is aware that persons arriving irregularly across the land border with Turkey at Evros are transferred to the Reception and Identification Center in Fylakio, where they are subject to the Reception and Identification Procedure and undergo a medical examination, registration of personal data, fingerprinting and interview, after which they are directed to follow-up procedures (asylum for persons applying for international protection or repatriation of persons who renounce such an application).

With regard to administrative detention during the reception and identification procedure, Article 8(3) of the Reception Conditions Directive provides that[1] in accordance with Article 6 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union[2] an exhaustive list of grounds on which an applicant may be detained when less coercive measures cannot be effectively applied. Among the grounds for detention listed there is the need to establish or verify the identity or nationality of the person. However, such decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis. The Commission is closely monitoring the situation on the ground and is in dialogue with the Greek authorities. However, it does not collect statistics on 'preventions' and does not have the information requested by the Honourable Member.