EU Urges Greece To Up Asylum

Cecilia MalmstroemThe European Union has called on Greece to review its asylum policies, especially for Syrians fleeing “atrocities” in their country. Greece grants asylum to as few as 1 in 100,000 applicants and the government has been acting to purge the country of those in the country unlawfully.

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstroem told a news conference after talks with Greek leaders that the number of people gaining asylum in Greece “continues to be very low, and I am particularly worried about this situation, especially about the Syrians. “Every day we hear atrocities about their country,” she added.

Greece has complained it has received little support from the EU to deal with waves of immigrants from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe and has been left to fend almost by itself.

Malmstroem, who came to Greece to review the situation, said Syrian asylum seekers were “100 percent” protected in other European countries, while protection was “close to zero percent” in Greece.

“This must obviously change (and) the Greek minister told me that it will,” she said after talks with Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias, who is in charge of public order in the country struggling with a sixth year of continuous recession.

Malmstroem said Greece had made some progress in granting migrants and refugees the rights to which they are entitled, but “many migrants and asylum seekers are not treated with dignity and are being detained in unacceptable conditions.” Some infamous detention centers had also been closed but “conditions (in others) remain unacceptable,” and do not comply with European standards, she said.

But the EU has provided little funding to help Greece improve them as the country remains the entry point for a majority of immigrants seeking to get into the bloc as Greece is overwhelmed with the numbers pouring in from all directions, either to stay in the country or use it as a jumping-off point for other European countries.

But under EU law, only the country that is the entry point can grant asylum and Greece it can’t do that for the huge numbers who come in. The asylum review is also mostly in the hands of the police who have gained notoriety for supporting the anti-immigrant stance of groups such as the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party that wants illegal immigrants deported, a stance backed by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

The EU and non-governmental organizations have repeatedly criticized Greece for violating migrants’ and refugees’ rights as they pass through the southeastern country on their way to western Europe but they haven’t offered any solutions to the practical and financial problems the illegal immigrants pose.

Malmstroem said 400,000 people were arrested in the EU last year for failing to present proper immigration papers, including 72,000 in Greece, 65,000 in Germany and about 50,000 in Spain.

She also expressed “serious concern” about a surge in racist attacks in Greece after Golden Dawn party entered  Parliament, and called on legislators to rapidly adopt a draft law making racism a crime, but the Samaras administration has withdrawn it. Golden Dawn was elected to parliament in June, winning nearly seven percent of the vote and 18 seats out of an overall 300 and it has benefited from its opposition to austerity measures being imposed on the orders of international lenders.

The party has benefitted from a rise in social tensions as Greece experiences a fourth year of strict austerity policies.

Many Golden Dawn supporters have been implicated in violent assaults against immigrants and the party is known for its anti-Semitic and xenophobic discourse.

The Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks wrote in a report published last month after a visit to Greece that the government had failed to take proper action over the rise in hate crimes, particularly targeting migrants.


  1. We had the most amount of arrests and we have far lower population then either Spain or Germany. We simply can not support the illegal hordes. Anytime they EU wants, we can put them on ship and send them there.

    More importantly, we have the worst unemployment in the western world and our own people are scouring garbage cans to eat, but we are suppose to ignore our own and take in Arabs? Why isn’t super rich Saudi Arabia or the other fat, rich countries taking them in? Oh that’s right, because they don’t give a damn about their own. But poor, desperately broke tiny Greece should and ignore her own people.

    Lost but not least, Andy the internet blogger who pretends that he is a reporter can’t help taking pot shot at GD.

  2. Her comments are great but Greece cannot afford to feed its own let alone cope with more immigrants…of any nationalilty..Muslim or Christian…unfortunately..
    Its economy is in bad shape unemployment at record levels…Greeks themselves are moving to find jobs and homes…How will Greece pay for these people i.e. feeding and housing them…let alone finding them employment..
    Why doesn’t any other country volunteer to accept them??? But no other country wants them either…that is the reality unfortunately…to assist Greece or their NATO members…

  3. Greece has had no involvement in the Syrian conflict.
    The nations that are sponsoring the Syrian civil war by giving moral, and material support to the Islamist rebels who are battling the secular Assad government, should be the ONLY nations obliged to take in Syrian refugees.

    Those nations are first and foremost Turkey which has flooded Syria with weapons, arming the Islamist rebels and ensuring the civil war drags on.
    Next is Israel which has carried out airstrikes against the Assad government forces, & whose mossad terror intelligence network is working behind the scenes together with the CIA & MI6 to destroy Syria by promoting civil war and sectarian conflict. Hence Britain and the USA should also accept a sizeable portion of these Syrian refugees.

  4. All countries who are backing the so-called rebels in Syria should assume their responsibilities and welcome theses refugees.

    Why Hellas should assume the consequences of the actions of others countries ?

    This isn’t fair.

    But Orthodox refugees from Syria should be welcome.

  5. We had the most amount of arrests???/ come on! you know greek are liers,they always raise numbers up.

  6. What a bunch of leftist narrative crap. Cecilia Malmstroem is NOT the EU. She is a single person that works for the EU.

    I would note that despite having far far less illegals than Greece, Mrs. Malmstroem’s native Sweden had no problem deporting illegals back to Greece under Dublin 2. I would also note, Mrs. Malmstroem hasn’t said a peep to condemn the former Yugoslavians changing into ancient macedonians and using the name to insinuate our country is “occupied”.

    In short, patronizing Mrs. Malmstroem appears to be RACIST towards Greeks. Unfortunately our leftists are self-righteous idiots that think that just because someone puts the words “human rights’ in their sentences or organization name it puts them above having prejudices and bad moral judgment.