Greece struggling to implement EU-Turkey deal
20 March 2016
Greece Under Strain As Migrant Deal Takes Effect
(Yahoo! News, link): "Authorities in Greece are struggling to put in place infrastructure to implement the deal signed by EU leaders and Turkey in Brussels to stem the flow of migrants.
(...) Speaking to Sky News, an official from the Greek government's crisis management office said the challenges were huge.
"If we had to do it today, we wouldn't be able to do it. There are things that have to be done before we are ready to implement a deal like this," Giorgos Kyritsis said.
"We are talking days in terms of the legal procedures. We have to make many legislation arrangements and then we have to make the infrastructure and that is a matter of weeks, not months.""
More: Greece struggles to launch EU-Turkey plan
(EUobserver, link): "Would-be asylum seekers have continued to arrive on the Greek islands from Turkey as the EU promises to support Greece in its efforts to send them back.
About 875 of mostly Syrians and Iraqis arrived on four Greek Aegean islands over the weekend with Turkey stopping another 3,000."
And see: EU-Turkey deal fails to stem refugee flight to Greece
(Reuters, link) and Greece Struggles to Enforce Migrant Accord on First Day
(The New York Times, link)
Further detail on the situation in Greece as it was in December 2015 can be found in a recent European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) report on Greece
(link). The EESC undertook fact-finding missions to see how civil society and other organisations were responding to the situation of refugees and migrants in various locations in Greece, reaching a number of conclusions under the following headings:
Lack of efficient coordination in locations that need it most;
The relocation scheme is still not very popular;
Lack of humanitarian services to respond to the refugee crisis;
Discrimination towards refugees on the grounds of nationality;
The Frontex presence is limited;
No clear and strategic plan regarding those not entitled to protection;
Children's rights at stake;
No registration and follow-up of persons who cross the borders to the west;
Refugees face abuse and exploitation;
The refugee flows will continue.
The deal with Turkey (pdf), of course, is supposed to significantly diminish the number of people arriving in Greece. But apart from reducing the numbers of people arriving - thus reducing the level of need - it is not clear how, if at all, the actions outlined in the EU-Turkey plan will contribute to alleviating the problems outlined in the EESC report.
More: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.3.16): UNHCR ceasing transportation to Moria camp, converted into a closed detention centre; analysis of EU plans to "halt citizen-led response to the migration crisis"; further news and updates.