On 28 September 2020, Polish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Janina Ochojska of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“Around 10 000 asylum seekers have been moved to a temporary camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, 10 days after a fire destroyed the Moria camp. The conditions there are just as bad, if not worse than in the Moria camp. For instance, there is not a single shower with running water.
Refugees seem relieved to have found basic assistance, but they are still worn-out from being on the street for several days, and worried about the future. A new site is currently functioning as an emergency shelter facility, intended to cover immediate and urgent needs in terms of food, water, sanitation and medical care. The UNHCR supports its use ‘as a temporary solution but cautions that what may be deemed adequate in terms of shelter and services during emergency situations is not appropriate for the longer term’. Solidarity requires concrete actions to help Greece in solving this problem. Allowing such poor conditions in a new camp will create conflict that might affect Greece and fuel aggression against migrants.
1. What concrete actions will the Commission take to deliver on the commitment that there should be ‘no more Morias’, made to Parliament’s plenary session?
2. How does the Commission intend to address the current situation on Lesbos?”
On 25 January 2021, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “the construction of the Mavrovouni temporary facility came as an immediate response action to an emergency situation following the destruction of the Moria Reception and Identification Centre by fires in September 2020.
The first priority was to provide shelter to the thousands of vulnerable migrants and then to improve the living conditions in the temporary facility.
In addition, the Commission has provided financial support to the Greek authorities for the necessary upgrade of the water and sanitation facilities, for flood prevention, drainage and clean water supply works, and for the installation of lighting equipment for the common spaces. It has funded the transfer of more than 2 700 recognised refugees and vulnerable migrants from Lesvos to the mainland.
Furthermore, in September 2020, the Commission established a dedicated Task Force which, together with the Greek authorities, is working on a joint pilot to improve the situation on Lesvos in a sustainable way.
The Commission together with international organisations, EU agencies and with the support of interested Member States, works with the Greek authorities to better manage migration and asylum processes and to set up new, up-to-standard reception facilities on the island. The aim is to have a new reception centre ready in the course of 2021.
The Commission has also granted EUR 121 million to the Greek authorities for the construction of new multi-purpose facilities on the islands of Samos, Kos and Leros. The new multi-purpose facilities should be ready in the course of 2021 and will provide adequate reception conditions in line with EC law.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/lesvos-island-mytilini-greece-1206678/