In an order to maintain the semblance of diplomatic protocol amongst the European Union’s member states, the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, has avoided specifically naming certain Greek authorities for the living conditions for hundreds of illegal migrants that are being housed in detention camps on several islands, saying those that are prone to dolling out criticism “simply do not know the facts”.
His comments came amid suggestions that the European Commission could censure certain members f the Greek political establishments for their handling of the migrant situation on the countries’ eastern Aegean islands, Avramopoulos, however, quashed those rumours and instead urged the Greek authorities to improve their administrative capacity and to improve the situation on the ground.
Greece received €289 million from a total of €2 billion EU-funded refugee support programme that will be used to improve the living conditions of detention centres on the islands and mainland. That money, as Avramopoulos noted, is under the jurisdiction of the Greek authorities and, therefore, they are responsible for the operational effectiveness of the funds’ use.
Avramopoulos stressed that Greece must step up its judicial process to deport groups migrants to Turkey after the Turkish authorities in Ankara began signalling that they are ready to accept migrants who had entered Greece from Turkey
Part ofAvramopoulos’ demands included calls for the Greek government to build housing centres on Greece’s mainland which will be equipped with facilities that can withstand winter conditions and to move any migrant to those locales in they are no longer subject to the freedom-of-movement restrictions that barred certain asylum seekers from leaving the island detention camps
Striking a particularly non-committal tone, Avramopoulos said “Τhe Commission is not here to push but to coordinate and persuade,” and later noted that the Commission has taken into consideration the differing views of the bloc’s members – particularly those who may differ from the mainstream opinion of the European institutions so long as it is part of a wider EU dialogue about finding a mutually agreed upon migration policy