Question: Does the EU support closed mass camps in Greece?
On 28.5.2021 the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum published a tender for the construction of the planned new "multi-purpose reception and identification centres" on Lesvos and Chios. A total of €142 million will be allocated for this purpose. The tender explicitly mentions that these are "closed, controlled structures", which will be 100 % financed with European Union funds.However, the EU Commission has promised that the camps will be open. That is why I have drafted a question to the EU Commission on this matter.. The EU Commission repliedthat they will be open centres in accordance with EU law. The Commission claims the EU-funded camps will be open, the Greek Government says they will be closed. The Commission also says that there have been „significant improvements in terms of water, sanitation, electricity, ballasting and preparation for winter and repair“ . In addition, he said, the Greek government had promised that no one would have to freeze in the camps during the winter. During my last visit two weeks ago, the Mavrovouni camp was still a construction site. I very much hope that the Greek government will keep its promise and that this year, for the first time since 2015, no one will have to freeze in tents.
Subject: Invitation to tender issued by the Greek Ministry of Migration for the construction of closed camps on Lesvos and Chios
On 28.5.2021, the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum published a tender for the construction of the planned new "multi-purpose reception and identification centres" on Lesvos and Chios. A total of EUR 142 million will be allocated for this purpose. The tender explicitly mentions that these will be "closed, controlled structures", 100 % of which will be financed with European Union funds. It is also explicitly mentioned that the planned projects will be a direct implementation of EASO standards. The time to completion of the project prescribed in the call for tender is 8 months from the signature of the contract. Accordingly, completion this year seems impossible. Moreover, the resistance on the islands has already prevented any construction progress on Lesbos more than a year ago.
1.What is the current timetable of the Joint Steering Committee regarding the completion of the camps on the islands?
2.is the tender incorrect and needs to be corrected or is EU money now being used to build closed warehouses?
3. minimum standards of the Reception Directive continue not to be met in the 'temporary' Mavrovouni camp. How does the Commission justify the fact that, once again next winter, people seeking protection in Europe will have to spend the winter in tents in an undignified camp, despite the fact that promises have been made every year since 2015 to put an end to these conditions?
Answer given by Ylva Johansson on behalf of the European Commission on 23/07/2021
The Commission works through a special task force is working intensively with the Greek authorities to create new multifunctional reception and identification centres on Lesvos and Chios. The construction process of the new facilities is intensively monitored, including through monthly Steering Committee meetings. The tendering process for the new centres on Lesvos and Chios is currently underway.
The Commission has allocated€ 155 million for the establishment of new centres on the islands of Lesvos and Chios. In line with EU law, these will be open centres, subject to the necessary and proportionate access arrangements. They will comprise different areas, including reception and identification structures for new arrivals, accommodation facilities, secure areas for unaccompanied children and young people, recreational areas and removal facilities. Deportation facilities for persons subject to a return order will be closed areas. Persons accommodated in the other areas will be able to enter and leave the premises via an access system with special badges.
Thanks to the joint efforts of the Greek authorities, the Commission and the EU agencies, conditions at the temporary reception facility in Mavrovouni have improved significantly, in particular as regards water, sanitation, electricity, ballasting and preparation for winter and repairs. However, Mavrovouni remains a temporary accommodation facility. The Greek authorities have assured the Commission that no one will spend another winter in tents at Mavrovouni.