In just a few days’ time, the Greek government will begin evicting 10,000 refugees from their current homes in camps, hotels and apartments in mainland Greece, in order to make way for new arrivals from the islands.
Whilst those who will be evicted have already been granted asylum, many could now be left homeless, and without financial means or social assistance to support themselves. This is due partly to the suspension of public services as a result of a Covid-19 pandemic, but also through actions undertaken by the Greek government.
Despite the best efforts of the authorities in Athens, NGOs and other civil society, no solution has yet been found.
Today, three MEPs from the EU Parliament’s civil liberties committee (LIBE), led by Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany), wrote to Commissioners Margaritas Schinas and Ylva Johnasson, demanding urgent answers regarding the situation.
The eviction process is scheduled for the end of May after the Greek government failed to find and create new homes in mainland Greece for the inhabitants – even though the European Commission had allocated some €350 million to the Greek government for housing purposes back in March.
Amongst those who will be forced to leave their homes are vulnerable individuals, and they will be making way for those arriving from places like Lesbos.
Also of major concern to the LIBE MEPs is that many asylum seekers have been experiencing severe difficulties in accessing their right to legal remedy. A combination of Covid-19 and government cuts mean impossible and logistical challenges for filing in their applications or appeal procedures.
Commenting on the situation, Ernst said:
“The Greek government is going to evict 10,000 asylum seekers from their accommodation on mainland Greece this Sunday, making all of them homeless.”
“2000 asylum seekers have had their applications refused during the lockdown, and have only been given one week to appeal while most Covid-19 measures remain in place. The deadline is this Friday.”
“Urgent action is required to change the course of the Greek government, stop the evictions and make sure the deadlines are fair!” she said.