The new closed controlled structures in Leros and Kos were inaugurated by M. Schoinas and N. Mitarakis

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The new closed controlled structures were inaugurated in Leros and Kos. “Today is a historic day,” said European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schoinas. “Images like those experienced by our islands in the period 2015-2019 belong definitively to the past”, noted the Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis.

“The new modern and multi-purpose reception and identification centers that we inaugurated today in Leros and Kos are another tangible proof of the undivided European solidarity with Greece”, pointed out in his speech the Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Promotion of the European Way Zois, Margaritis Schoinas. Mr. Schoinas described today as “undoubtedly historic and the seal of implementation of the decision we took exactly one year ago, in November 2020, when the European Commission agreed to finance the construction of new centers on the frontline islands. at the external borders of the European Union “.

The vice-president of the European Commission responded to the criticism of the construction of large centers at a time when refugee flows have been significantly reduced, saying that recent events on the Belarus-Poland border have shown that “the problem of these hybrid attacks is instrumentalizing traffickers – with the blessings of irresponsible leadership – is that this is a big security issue and not just immigration and asylum. And as such, it is treated as a threat and security. ” These events, he continued, “remind us and accuse us of how urgently and absolutely we need a comprehensive, holistic European approach to migration, now more than ever.” This European approach, he concluded, “is a one-way street and goes through the agreement on the New Pact on Immigration and Asylum”.

For his part, the Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis, stressed that “the completion of the National Reception System is a key pillar of the strict, but fair immigration policy that we implement from the first moment.” He also stated that “with a plan, systematic effort, patience and perseverance, we have clearly regained control of the Immigration, we have finally left behind the crisis that began in 2015. A crisis that neither Greece nor Europe want to relive. Today in Leros and Kos, as a few days ago in Samos and in a few months in Chios and Lesvos, a new period begins. Images like those that lived on our islands in the period 2015-2019 are definitely a thing of the past “.

Mr. Mitarakis also noted that the new structures give “a final end to urban myths”, adding that the structures “are not made for the permanent residence of refugees and immigrants”, “act as a deterrent and at the same time preventive for new migration flows” and ” they will act as the spearhead of a policy aimed at the dark action of smuggling circuits “.

According to a relevant announcement of the ministry, the inauguration was also attended by the general secretary of the Reception of Asylum Seekers, Manos Logothetis, the governor of the N. Aegean, George Hatzimarkou and the ND MPs, Vassilis Ypsilantis and Giannis Pappas.

The Secretary General of the Reception of Asylum Seekers, Manos Logothetis, stated that “today, with respect for international law and the principles of our policy, European cooperation and the safeguarding of human dignity, we stand with confidence and determination in the face of the challenges of the 21st century.”

The governor of the N. Aegean, George Hatzimarkou pointed out that “in the refugee-immigration issue, the southern Aegean paid a very heavy price in recent years – higher than it deserved – and managed to keep high the dignity and reputation, not only , but also of the whole country, honoring its history, culture and humanity “and he continued by saying that” the shielding of the islands against situations and dangers similar to those we faced in 2015, can not be a theoretical discussion. Our neighborhood with Turkey and history show us that we must operate on the basis of a coherent plan. “The protection of our islands requires action and decisions that lead to solutions.”

The general manager of the Sustainable Development Projects Department of the contractor MYTILINEOS, Panagiotis Gardelinos, described the structures stating that “we designed, developed and constructed structures for health, education, sports, social and psychological support and safety, with , single-parent families and unaccompanied children, with shops for everything necessary, with the necessary biological cleaning. We have adopted the best international practices, and utilized the international standards of safety and quality “.

The two structures

The Ministry of Immigration and Asylum notes that the new structures “include all the modern technical and operational infrastructure to make them safe for residents, employees and residents, as it is far from the urban fabric. “These are structures that guarantee decent living conditions to people seeking international protection, but also the necessary conditions of detention and restraint for illegal immigrants who are to be returned / deported.”

The new closed controlled structure in Leros is being developed in an area of ​​about 60 acres at the Lepida location. It has a capacity of 1,780 guests and specifically: 1,440 people general population, 100 unaccompanied minors and 240 vulnerable groups, single parent families and women. The accommodation spaces are developed in 8,900 sq.m. and are divided into separate zones, while consisting of seven two-storey residential buildings of 1,000 sq.m., three ground floor residential buildings of 500 sq.m. and one of 400 sq.m. The placement of asylum seekers will be based on ethnic and social criteria (families, people with mobility disabilities, serious health problems, pregnant women). In addition, PROKEKA detention facilities are provided for 360 people. The structure will also operate sanitary facilities, administration areas, creative employment areas, computer room, restaurants, shop areas, kitchen laundry areas, two playgrounds, three stadiums and seven ground floor buildings for people with mobility problems. The construction budget is 35.3 million euros.

The new closed controlled structure in Kos is being developed in an area of ​​about 90 crowns, on the site of the former “Makrigiannis” camp, on either side of the existing structure. It has a capacity of 1,540 guests and specifically: 960 people general population, 100 unaccompanied minors and 480 vulnerable groups, single parent families and women. The accommodation spaces are developed in 8,900 sq.m. and are divided into separate zones, while consisting of six two-storey residential buildings of 1,000 sq.m., five ground floor residential buildings of 500 sq.m. and a ground floor of 400 sq.m. And there the placement of asylum seekers will be based on ethnic and social criteria, while PROKEKA detention facilities are provided for 600 people. The structure also includes sanitary facilities, administration and guard areas, creative areas, computer room, restaurants, laundry and kitchen areas, shop areas, four courts, two playgrounds and five ground floor buildings for people with mobility problems. The construction budget is a total of 39.36 million euros.

Both centers are fully funded by the European Union – Asylum, Immigration and Integration Fund / Emergency Assistance.

It is pointed out that for the two structures the installation of Closed Surveillance System (CCTV) is foreseen, which uses “smart” software in order to warn in time for any emergency events, while it has the ability to give notifications and image to the Local Event Center, in the Center. Control in Athens and in the Control Centers of other involved bodies, such as the Hellenic Police. There is also a double NATO-type enclosure, as well as a fingerprint tourniquet, using fingerprints, in the separate sections of the structure for controlled entry and exit, in order to protect their employees and vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied children and single-parent families.

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