Dear Mr. Tsipras,
Dear Mr. Avramopoulus,
Please find herby for your information the letter to Mr. Dimitrios Papadimoulis on the situation in Idomeni.
Vice-President of the S&D Group
We are in direct contact with Vasilis Tsartsanis, who brought to our attention the terrible conditions for refugees in Idomeni and at the village of Evzoni. We both spoke with these refugees via skype and encouraged them to go to Portugal, a country that has repeatedly announced its willingness to host them. We sent them information and tried to battle the myths spread in Idomeni, such as that Germany is still an option for them.
This situation was also brought to the attention of the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, and the Minister for Home Affairs, Constança Urbano de Sousa, and we have been informed that they found, at the political level, goodwill by the Greek authorities to cooperate. The next step would be the security screening of these people, which normally should be done by the Greek authorities (with EASO’s support) but that Portuguese authorities are available to do themselves in order to accelerate the process, if the Greek authorities agree and the EASO helps (and EASO has confirmed it can do so).
However, the process is, unfortunately, not moving forward, namely because Greek authorities are really struggling and can only accelerate the most vulnerable cases (i.e. non accompanied minors). Regarding all the others, it is still requested that they go through a (non-functioning) skype appointment, with the promise – but no guarantees whatsoever – of a pre-registration to the end of this month. Meanwhile, we receive desperate messages, people do now really want to come to Portugal, but find no authority serving as an interlocutor in order to facilitate this process.
Following several communications, we understand the bottleneck is in Greece and has to do with high administrative pressure and lack of communication between the political and administrative levels. The main actors provided by Portugal and EASO on these process are Mr. Mr. Paulo Conceição (Portuguese officer) and Mrs. Dimitra Pippidou (EASO field officer) and, on the political level, the Minister for Home Affairs, Constança Urbano de Sousa, as well as the Director of EASO, José Carreira.
We would urgently request your intervention, in whichever way you find useful, to put pressure to unblock the process on the Greek side. We both remain fully available to help in any way, namely and in case you find it useful, by travelling to Idomeni. We strongly hope that we will find a fast solution and believe that the project can be the start of emptying Idomeni and a clear message for all Member States in the European Union. We look forward to your early response to this important issue.
For your information, please find attached the last communication we received from Vasilis Tsartsanis on this subject and his contact: [email protected].com
Ana Gomes and Josef Weidenholzer
MEP Josef Weidenholzer
Member of the European Parliament
Bât. Altiero Spinelli 15 G265
60, Rue Wiertz 60
Tel. +32 2 28 47473
Fax. +32 2 28 49473