MEPs demand a winter plan for asylum-seekers
MEPs will call for a winter plan to create safe conditions for thousands of asylum seekers across the EU as the cold approaches. They will discuss on Wednesday morning with the Council and the Commission measures to prevent a humanitarian crisis.
In a report published last April, the Court of Auditors noted that the situation in the hotspots both in Italy and Greece, the two Member States with the highest number of arrivals, was not adequate, pointing particularly to the overcrowding on the islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos.
As part of the emergency relocation measures agreed by the EU, 21,229 asylum seekers have been transferred in the last two years from Greece to other EU member states, but around 50,000 are still in the country. In the case of Italy, 10,243 have so far been moved to other countries in the EU.
Since the beginning of this year, 114,112 migrants and asylum-seekers have arrived by boat to Italy, making it the main arrival point to Europe. The Greek islands have received in the same period 24,739 persons, but there has recently been a spike in arrivals, with 4,886 people crossing from Turkey in September and 4,134 in October, the highest numbers since the signature of the EU-Turkey statement in March 2016.
Several NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Oxfam, recently wrote to Prime Minister Tsipras, criticising the fact that the Greek islands have been transformed into places of “indefinite confinement” for asylum seekers and warning of their deteriorating living conditions. Ahead of the colder season, many people in the Greek camps are still living in summer tents.
Procedure: Council and Commission statements, without resolution
Debate: Wednesday, 15 November