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Greece is preparing to put into operation the detention centres for illegal migrants

08 February 2016 / 11:02:56  GRReporter
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Macedonia is placing a second wire fence along its border with Greece, as reported by the Greek media. According to the publications, the preparatory works have already begun on erecting a fence in the neutral zone between Idomeni and Gevgelija, where refugees cross the border to go to central and northern Europe.

The first fence in the same place was erected last November and has been extended several times since then. The sources indicate that it is about 35 km long at present and according to the official announcement of the Macedonian government, Skopje has obtained the necessary wire from Hungary.

Photo: kathimerini.gr

Simultaneously, the country has again closed the neutral zone on the border with Greece, resulting in over 5,000 refugees in distress near the village of Idomeni.

According to a publication of the Financial Times, the European Commission has drawn up a plan to send border guards and soldiers to the border between the two countries in an attempt to reduce the refugee influx. So far, 67,000 refugees have arrived in central and northern Europe from Greece. The diplomatic circles have expressed concern that this number will increase in the coming weeks due to the deteriorating situation in Syria.

The pressure on Greece to act as quickly as possible in connection with the construction of reception and registration centres for refugees is constantly increasing. The deadline is more than pressing because the infrastructure must be ready by the start of the EU summit on 18 February, which will also discuss the refugee crisis.

Although Deputy Minister for Migration Yiannis Mouzalas defined as "nonsense" the possibility of Greece being excluded from the Schengen zone, the Greek government seems determined to put into operation all temporary reception centres for migrants built by the previous government of Antonis Samaras.

According to the Greek newspaper Eleftheros Tipos, those are about 7 reception centres for migrants to be extradited, which are described in a series of decisions that the Ministry of Citizen Protection and the Greek police have recently exchanged. The publication notes that the police are responsible for the operation of the centres in Amigdaleza near Athens, the Central Office for Foreigners on Petrou Ralli Street in Athens, in the village of Filakio near Orestiada, as well as for the centres in Corinth, Xanthi, Lesbos and the village of Paranesti near Drama.

The documentation makes clear that they have the capacity to receive 6,127 migrants in total. Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos had stressed the need for their operation in a series of statements, pointing out that in addition to the reception and registration centres (hot spots) the authorities should secure more places for reception as well as "centres for detention or extradition of all those who are subject to return, especially if there is a risk for them to escape because of their unwillingness to be voluntarily extradited."

It is worth noting that one of the first actions of the newly elected government of SYRIZA and Independent Greeks a year ago was to close down the detention centres and to release the illegal migrants who were there.

At the same time, the public reactions against the establishment of reception and registration centres for refugees and migrants (hot spots) are becoming stronger. Over the weekend, the protests on the island of Kos became even more violent since the residents set up barricades and lit fires along the road that leads to the place where the local centre is to be built. There were negative reactions also in the suburb of Diavata in Thessaloniki and in the neighbourhood of Schisto near Athens.

Tags: SocietyRefugee crisisReception and registration centresDetention centres for illegal migrantsWire fence in the neutral zone between Greece and MacedoniaIdomeniDestitute refugees
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