Question: EU funding for closed migration centers

The EU funds several closed migration centers with detention-like conditions in Greece. Despite evidence from a Greek court and several non-governmental organizations, the Commission denies that detention-like conditions exist and further claims that the rights of those seeking protection are not being violated.

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My request

The EU funds several closed migration centers in Greece. These include the closed controlled-access center on Samos, which opened in September 2021 and received funding of EUR 43 million under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). According to rulings by a Greek court and evidence from various non-governmental organizations, many asylum seekers face de facto detention and extensive surveillance at this center.

  • Does the Commission consider the funding of this closed center to be compatible with the specific provisions governing the detention of asylum seekers in international and European asylum law (e.g. the Reception Conditions Directive and the Dublin III Regulation)?
  • Could the Commission provide a detailed list of all AMIF expenditures for the Samos camp since September 2021, broken down by category of expenditure (in particular monitoring, including procedures and guards)?
  • Is there a concrete overview of funding under AMIF for comparable centers in the Georgian islands, including their capacity and total number of staff per camp, and how does the Commission monitor this expenditure?

Answer given by Ylva Johansson on behalf of the European Commission on 08/09/2022

The Commission has allocated â¬276 million from the Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) for the construction of five multi-purpose reception and identification centers on the islands of Samos, Kos, Leros, Chios and Lesvos. These centers include different areas, including reception and identification structures for new arrivals, accommodation facilities, safe areas for unaccompanied children and adolescents, recreational areas and deportation zones. As demonstrated by the Return Directive only the deportation zones are closed areas. The full respect of the EU right of asylum and return is a condition for the centers to be supported with EU funds.

The tender documents published by the Greek authorities for the construction of the centers are available online. They refer to the total cost of the construction works and not to the cost per center. The contracts containing information on the running costs of the new center on Samos come from the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum and therefore the Commission does not have the requested information. The Honourable Members are invited to contact the competent authorities for further information. Services of the Ministry to turn.

The Commission has deployed staff to the islands and is closely monitoring the work of the new centers to ensure compliance with applicable EU law. This is done through mandatory reporting by the beneficiaries of EU funds and on-site visits by Commission staff. For the construction of the new multipurpose reception and identification centers, an additional monitoring framework has been put in place, including regular financial controls by an external audit firm during the project.