27 November 2021 marked the opening of two new reception centres on the Greek islands of Leros and Kos. A €121 million grant from the European Commission was used for the construction of the two facilities, as well as the existing reception centre on Samos.
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas attended the inauguration ceremonies. He welcomed the opening of the new facilities that will ensure adequate and dignified living conditions for all residents. The Vice-President said:
“Today is undoubtedly a historic day - sealing the implementation of a decision we took just one year ago, in November 2020, when the European Commission agreed to finance the construction of new centres on Greece’s islands, at the external borders of the European Union.”
Attending on behalf of the Greek government, Minister of Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarachi stated that:
"The completion of the National Reception System is a key pillar of the strict but fair migration policy that we have been implementing from the very beginning. Two and a half years later, we are able to say that with a plan, systematic effort, patience and perseverance, we have visibly regained control of the migration issue, we have left behind the crisis that began in 2015. Today on Leros and Kos, as a few days ago on Samos and in a few months on Chios and Lesvos, a new period begins.”
Larger capacity and improved living conditions
The new centres have larger capacity than the current centres - each can receive up to 2,140 people, of those - 100 unaccompanied children and teenagers.
Improved living conditions include:
- rooms with a maximum capacity of five people for adults and four people for unaccompanied children and teenagers
- hygiene and washing facilities with hot and cold water
- safe zones for unaccompanied children and teenagers and single parent families
- medical care facilities
- children's playgrounds and multi-purpose sport courts
- large dining rooms in each section of the centre
- spaces for social activities
- a secure area with an entry/exit system, where residents and staff can enter by using a personal access card
The administrative areas will also be improved and extended with stable internet connection and access for people with disabilities.
The reception centre has a modern security system and is fenced to ensure security and safety for the residents and personnel.
Fair and efficient asylum procedures
Both new centres on Leros and Kos provide necessary infrastructure and facilities to allow fair and efficient management of asylum applications. There are administrative areas for effective registration, asylum and reception procedures ensuring suitable working conditions for staff.
The Commission’s Task Force Migration Management continues to work with the Greek authorities and EU agencies to improve conditions for migrants arriving in Greece.
More pictures from the inauguration ceremony and the new reception centres on Kos and Leros can be found in the picture gallery.
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