The signature of the Operating Plan for the deployment of EU Asylum Support Teams in Greece will assist the Greek authorities in setting up a modern and efficient asylum and reception system. This is the first time that Asylum Support Teams are being deployed by the European Asylum Support Office. It is a very important step towards the reform of the Greek asylum system.
The European Asylum Support Office which was created by the European Union in March 2010, has a strong role to play in providing concrete solidarity and support to all Member States: those under exceptional pressure and those which also need to make their asylum system more fair and efficient. This deployment will be its first operational challenge.
Support for the implementation of the Greek Action Plan will remain a priority in the coming year. It is now essential that Greece ensures that appropriate resources are allocated for the implementation of all aspects of the Plan.
Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, said that she was aware of the very difficult conditions in which irregular migrants and asylum seekers are being detained in the Evros region. Despite of the good results for Frontex Rapid Border Intervention Teams deployment in Greece, the humanitarian situation in these places of detention is a major concern. Third-country nationals held in detention for whatever reason should always be treated in a humane and dignified manner and Malmström has call upon the Greek authorities to take immediate action to remedy the situation.
In this respect, she encouraged Greece to make maximum use of the emergency measures financed under the European Refugee Fund, to address immediate needs until Greece’s new national independent asylum agency is established.
She equally welcome the cooperation of the Greek authorities with the the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its strategic involvement in the reform of the asylum system.