Greece clears out Athens airport refugee camp

On 2 June, police operations to clear out a migrant camp installed in an abandoned Athens airport initiated. Over the day, 650 persons were forcibly moved to camps in the countryside. The camp has hosted up to 3,000 persons since November 2015, when the border with Macedonia was closed.

Many migrants of Afghan origin, who are not eligible to relocate within the EU, refused to be moved as they think they have more chances to leave Greece remaining in its capital city. They are part of the 62,000 migrants freezed in Greece since Balkan countries closed their borders in March 2016 and they represent the failure of the relocation’s mechanism. The 2015 EU-Turkey agreement included the relocation of 63,000 migrants from Greece and 35,000 from Italy to the other EU countries before September 2017. Nevertheless, in April 2017, EU data show that only almost 17% of them have been relocated, with only Malta and Finland in track to meet their obligations, while Hungary, Austria and Poland have so far refused to participate in the scheme. The issue was discussed in the European Parliament in May 2017, with some MEPs calling for conditioning EU funding to members’ participation in the scheme.

About author: Giorgio Sirtori

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