About 10,000 asylum seekers, mainly Afghanis, will remain in Greece, the Director of the country’s asylum service Maria Stavropoulou said on Monday, speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Athens titled, “Dimensions of the refugee issue and the humanitarian crisis — Dialog for the rights of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection.”
“I estimate that about 10,000 people, mainly Afghanis, will remain in Greece, in asylum status,” she said, adding that more than 50 percent of asylum requests submitted by Afghani nationals are recognized.
Asked about delays in the asylum system, Stavropoulou said the service is understaffed compared with the volume of applications it is required to manage and needs to be developed “in a sustainable manner.”
She said 51,000 asylum applications were submitted in 2016, about four times more than in 2015 when 13,500 were recorded. “However don’t forget we are the fourth country in the number of asylum applications after Germany, France and Italy and in spite of that we have a good rate of asylum recognition, since this is granted in 72 days, on average,” she said.
On his side, Migration Policy Ministry’s regional coordinator for Northern Greece and Epirus, Nikos Ragos, said out of the 48 open accommodation centers operating in the mainland, only 23 will remain open with 12,000 positions.