Migration and Struggle in Greece

The camps for refugees on the Greek borders are ready and waiting the green light by the EU to start operating

Posted by clandestina on 10 June 2009

This is a translation of an Eleftherotypia article.   BOLD FONTS are ours….


Immigration war in the Aegean

by Giorgos Marnellos

The political managers of the Ministry of Interior have focused on the EU summit in one week from now, which will establish the guidelines along which the issue of illegal immigration, while preparing themselves for a hectic summer ball game in the Aegean and the Evros regions; in this game the ball to be thrown bback and forth is thousands of people.

It is almost certain that Libya and Turkey are among the countries which will be urged to implement the bilateral readmission agreements, which they have signed with Italy and Greece respectively. In particular, Turkey may need to assume formal responsibilities towatrds the EU and find itself in the position of receiving back thousands of immigrants who pass to Greece from the Evros border and the Aegean islands.

According to info available to the «Eleftherotypia», there have already been established under cooperation of the Ministries of Interior and National Defense a number of camps in the border line and the islands, which meet the basic requirements for the decent temporary stay of illegal immigrants before they are formally/legally or illegally returned back to Turkey. It has been estmated that these camps should have the possibility to approximately host three thousand people. immigrants will be taken there by different means immediately after their rescue or arrest in the border line with Turkey and they will remain there … until their cases are settled. Officials say that this period should not exceed 40 days for the camps to be able to temporarily accept the next wave of immigrants.

The Vice-Chairman of the European Commission Jacques Barrot will have the opportunity to see the situation for himself, since he is to tour the Aegean and the Evros region in the last two days of June.

Not in Aspropyrgos

Meanwhile, the idea of concentrating non-legal immigrants in the old NATO base in Aspropyrgos, which had never seriously preoccupied officials, is now formally abandoned. For practical reasons it has been decided to concentrate immigrants to be deported into camps or regional centers, and only those tp be expelled by air to remain at centers in the area of Attica. For example, currently the deportation of 240 Pakistanis has been scheduled.

Apart from the immigration war in the Aegean, the Police intends to use the opportunity of the slack summer months to evacuate the city of Athens from illegal immigrants. The transfer of the OKANA facilities [methadone services for heroine users] away from the district is also beleived to discourage foreign and domestic networks to pillage the area around it.

The center will be cleansed this summer, state officials claim, who take into account the commitments they have towards investors who have purchased properties occupied by immigrants at derisory prices.

However, according to ministry circles, the Deputy Interior Minister Ch. Markogiannakis will exchaust all possiblities for cooperation between political parties before the ministry goes on with the harsh public safety plans. So far, however, there has been reluctance vis-a-vis the ministry’s call of one month ago.  In the EU summit front it will be made clear whether Minister Pavlopoulos’ policy can have practical effects on the treatment of immigration flows in the Aegean .

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