The promised transfer of a hundred minor and vulnerable asylum seekers from the Greek refugee camp Moria to the Netherlands is delayed because Greece is not supplying information about those involved, says State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol in the Lower House. The Netherlands wants to help Greece with the provision of information.
Germany would already take in refugees
The overcrowded refugee camp on the island of Lesbos burned down in early September, leaving some 13,000 residents homeless. A new, temporary tent camp now replaces the old Moria. At first glance, the white tents look neat, but emergency workers say there is hardly any access to water or other basic necessities.
Under pressure from the House of Representatives, the cabinet promised to take in 100 vulnerable refugees after the fire. The cabinet hopes that these asylum seekers will now be in the Netherlands before Christmas. But the State Secretary also warns against further delay due to the lockdown that now applies in Greece due to the corona virus.
The opposition is dissatisfied with the slow course of events. PvdA and GroenLinks want the State Secretary to put more pressure on the Greeks to deliver the necessary files. Broekers-Knol says it will take a long time, because the Greek procedure is careful. To speed things up, Dutch experts from the asylum chain are going to Greece.
After the fire, more European countries promised to take in asylum seekers from Moria, but according to the State Secretary, that would not have happened yet. Some parties asked the State Secretary why Germany would have succeeded in admitting all camp residents. Broekers-Knol agreed to investigate this.
The cabinet will settle the hundred asylum seekers with the already compulsory five hundred vulnerable refugees that the Netherlands will be taking in next year. That number had already gone from 750 to 500 as a compromise for the children’s pardon. The government does not see the reception of more refugees as a structural solution.
A plan by the Netherlands to receive asylum children on the Greek mainland has also been delayed several times. According to Broekers-Knol, the three shelters for underage refugees must now also be operational before Christmas. Those houses have already been promised and are separate from the fire in Moria.
There is still no functioning European system to distribute asylum seekers fairly among the Member States. In practice, Mediterranean countries bordering Europe therefore bear a disproportionate share of responsibility for the reception of asylum seekers. Partly because of this policy, camps such as Moria are bursting at the seams.