EU Parliamentarians Warn Refugees May Die on Greek Islands

File photo from migrant camp in Lesvos

The European Council and the European Commission must work urgently with Greece to prevent a humanitarian crisis this winter, according to the he Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group in the European Parliament.

The group called for a debate in the parliament’s plenary session next week in Strasbourg.

“Thousands of people seeking asylum on the Greek islands still do not have adequate protection for the coming cold months,” said S&D Group President Gianni Pittella.

“Many are still sleeping in light tents designed for summer weather, without sleeping bags, on thin mats or even on the ground. EU governments need to immediately stop sending back refugees to Greece under the Dublin mechanism; which is creating further strain on the Greek asylum system. If we do not act and refugees die from the cold, as they did last year, then their blood will be on our hands.”

Pittella was also quick to stress that all EU member states must fulfill their obligations to relocate refugees from Greece.

“A legal decision has been taken by the EU, and this must be fully respected. Relocation is the only way of taking these people out of limbo and allowing them to get on with rebuilding their lives.”