3rd EDITION OF THE NEWSLETTER ON THE REFUGEE-MIGRATION ISSUE PUBLISHED BY THE SPECIAL SECRETARIAT FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT COMMUNICATION OF THE MINISTRY OF DIGITAL POLICY, TELECOMMUNICATION AND MEDIA.

©IOM GREECE

3rd EDITION OF THE NEWSLETTER ON THE REFUGEE-MIGRATION ISSUE

PUBLISHED BY THE SPECIAL SECRETARIAT

FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT COMMUNICATION OF THE MINISTRY OF DIGITAL POLICY, TELECOMMUNICATION AND MEDIA.

The Special Secretariat for Crisis Management Communication of the Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media has published the 3rd issue of its Newsletter on the Refugee-Migration issue, that includes statistics and information regarding the first semester of 2018, as well as, the actions of national institutions and public services in this field.

The Minister for Migration Policy, D. Vitsas, in his greeting, states among others, that “the Greek government and the Ministry for Migration Policy will steadily implement a modern, integrated system of reception and asylum granting in the country, dealing with the long-term existing gap in this specific policy area”.

The Minister points out that Greece has received and continues to receive disproportionate pressure on its potential, by emphasizing that the country managed to respond by its constant efforts, without concessions on principles, acting upon a framework of the european acquis and the considerations of the international humanitarian law. “The development and implementation of a Common European Policy in the sectors of migration and asylum, has now become an imperative need and a key factor in properly addressing the challenges posed by the refugee-migration issue”, he stresses out.

“The Greek Government and the Ministry for Migration Policy are working hard to this direction, aiming to find out common European solutions, thus rejecting unilateral actions. Europe ought to stand up and successfully face the circumstances and operate under common european values, the international law and the principle of solidarity, within a framework of political responsibility and sharing obligations and «burden». “Finally, together we must continue to build on our democratic acquis, by excluding rhetoric of intolerance, isolation and xenophobia”, concludes Mr. Vitsas.

In the 3rd Issue of the Newsletter detailed data is provided on:

· Refugee and migratory flows during the first semester of 2018

According to data from the National Coordination Centre for Border, Immigration and Asylum (NCCBIA), 14,516 third-country nationals arrived illegally during the first half of 2018, through the Greek-Turkish sea border, compared to 9,533 for the same period in 2017. The irregular inflows during the first half of 2018 from the Greek-Turkish land border amounted to 8,410 compared to 1,611 for the same period in 2017.

· Returns

The total number of returns, including those based on EU-Turkey Joint Declaration and Voluntary Returns through the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in the entire first semester of 2018 amounted to 7,113.

· The accommodation within the framework of ESTIA program

By the end of the first semester of 2018, a total of 21,044 people were accommodated under this program, representing an occupancy rate at 96,6%. 58% of the ESTIA places are located in Attica.

· Examination of asylum applications at first and second instance

The total number of asylum applications submitted, during the first semester of 2018, amounts to 30,192, against 27,823 submissions in the corresponding semester of 2017. In particular, during the first semester of 2018, on the Aegean islands were submitted 14,825 applications, while for the corresponding semester in 2017 they amounted to 10,339.

During the first semester of 2018, 4,475 admissibility decisions were issued on the Aegean islands, compared to 2,604 in the corresponding period of 2017, as well as 10,525 referrals of vulnerable persons were made, during the first semester of 2018, compared to 5,670 referrals in the corresponding last year’s period.

The total amount of appeals lodged in the first semester of 2018 amounted to 7,123 (6,134 on the mainland and 989 on the islands), compared to 4,817 (3,608 on the mainland and 1,209 on the islands) in the corresponding semester of 2017.

· The unaccompanied minors

The recent legislative interventions on unaccompanied minors include the appointment of a guardian for every unaccompanied minor within the Greek territory and the institutionalization, for the first time, of a way of assessing the best interests of every child.

• The statements-interventions by the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, at the recent EU Migration Summit.

• The main pillars of the National Integration Strategy for Refugees and Immigrants as adopted by the Governmental Council of Social Policy. .

· The participation of refugee children in education

It is pointed out, among others, the successful completion of the first evaluation cycle of the program “European Qualifications Passport for Refugees”.

· The protection of health.

Information is provided on the ongoing vaccination program for refugees.