Published 10:44 December 25, 2017
Updated 10:46 December 25, 2017
Several days after DW aired a video showing appalling conditions Moria’s migrant camp in Lesvos, Greece, the EU coordinator for the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement on migration Maarten Verwey responds to New Europe’s questions, blaming the opposition of the competent authorities.
“The Commission has made the funding available to ensure appropriate accommodation for all. However, the Commission cannot order the creation or expansion of reception capacity, against the opposition of the competent authorities,” said Verwey on Christmas Eve. According to the above, the EU coordinator puts the blame on Athens and the local authorities in the islands of Lesvos and Chios.
The EU executive admits that the key problem in Greece’s migration problem remains the “severe overcrowding of the hotspots”, suggesting that “a sustainable solution requires a more effective return policy”.
According to the latest report published by the Greek Ministry for Migration, 7,373 migrants and refugees are currently stranded on the island of Lesvos. The official capacity in the island is less than half, of 3,253 persons, with Moria camp hosting 5,485 migrants that keep being hosted in unacceptable conditions of poor hygiene, as the recent reports show. Pregnant women and small children keep being hosted in unfit conditions.
Enough money, not enough done
According to the official data provided by the Greek authorities on 22 December, 13,663 migrants are currently on the islands, while Brussels has secured funding for bigger numbers, 15,000 migrants – 2,000 of which should be able to use the beds provided by apartments and hotels under the UNHCR rental scheme.
Just three days ago, the European Commission has awarded an additional €7 million in emergency assistance to Greece under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund to serve immediate needs for shelter, catering, hygiene…