After a debate lasting more than 14 hours this morning, the Greek parliament decided by a large majority to tighten up the asylum law. The aim of the conservative government under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is to speed up asylum procedures and to send applicants back to Turkey more quickly under the Refugee Pact.
In addition, by the end of the year around 20,000 asylum seekers will be brought from the completely overburdened Greek islands to the mainland. The Greek asylum system has been paralyzed for a long time, Mitsotakis said in his speech to parliament. It spread the message, everyone could stay in Greece. In the future, among other things, „every application should be examined after six months instead of nine months“. If the applicant does not cooperate with the authorities, the application is automatically declared unfounded.
30,000 people stranded on islands
Mitsotakis again appealed to the EU member states: „It can not be that a country uses the free movement of the EU and at the same time refuses to share even the smallest migration burden.“ European solidarity is not a la carte.
The opposition, as well as aid and humanitarian organizations, had criticized the tightening of the law in advance: it undermined the right to a comprehensive review of an asylum application. Almost 35,000 people are currently waiting on the islands of the Eastern Aegean. The number is the highest since the entry into force of the Refugee Pact in March 2016. Capacity is only available for around 7,000 people.