European Commission Calls Refugee Camp Conditions in Greece ‘Untenable’ (video)

    Photo Credit: Forrest Crellin

    Footage from a migrant camp hit by snowfall on the island of Lesvos has led the European Commission to describe the situation of migrants in Greece as “untenable.”

    The video, posted by a volunteer worker on Youtube shows migrants living in extremely harsh conditions, with no heat and their tents buckling under the heavy snow. Commission Spokesperson Natasha Bertaud called their situation “untenable,” a EurActiv report says.

    The video comes as criticism to Greek Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas who stated two days ago that there were no refugees or migrants living in the cold.

    Currently there are 5,800 migrants at the Moria camp on Lesvos island, far above capacity. They expect their asylum applications to be processed in order to be transferred to the mainland. If their applications are rejected, they will have to return to Turkey.

    Bertaud said that the responsibility for ensuring adequate reception conditions was with the Greek authorities, and the EU was doing everything they could to improve the situation.

    “When it comes particularly to Moria, in its contacts with the Greek authorities the Commission has already stressed that there is a need for additional reception capacity on the island,” she told EurActiv, adding that the EU executive stands ready to provide funding for such additional accommodation centres.

    “The Commission is aware that currently the situation is untenable,” Bertaud said, but added that the Commission could not dictate to the Greek authorities, or to any member state, what to do.

    “We are pursuing a dual strategy of political pressure and financial and technical support to the Greek authorities to improve the situation,” Bertaud explained.

    The Commission spokesperson said that the European executive authority is making continuous recommendations to Greece about actions needed to take to improve the situation.

    Greece is currently expected to take back migrants from other EU member states to implement the Dublin regulation, which determines which EU country is responsible for examining the application of asylum-seekers.