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Migration and Home Affairs

Solidarity in action - other forms of European support

Emergency support actions after the Moria fire

After the fire in the Moria camp in September 2020, 12,362 people were left without shelter. The Commission, together with several partners, provided immediate support to assist the Greek authorities in providing shelter as quickly as possible.   

The Commission immediately provided: 

  • the assistance in rapid transfer and accommodation of 406 unaccompanied children and teenagers from Lesvos to the mainland of Greece   
  • exceptional financial assistance to support people affected by the fires  
  • funding the use of two ferryboats to transport beneficiaries of international protection to the mainland 

An end to island overcrowding

As part of the agreement establishing the Task Force, the Commission and the Greek authorities have committed to making sure the reception centres on the islands are not overcrowded. This is key for the dignified reception of residents, but also to relieve local communities.  

Overcrowding has now been substantially reduced:   

  • in 2020, over 31,800 transfers from different islands to the mainland have taken place    
  • since the start of 2021, a further 9,647 transfers of persons have been performed by mid-July

Relocations in numbers 

By January 2022, over 4,600 people were relocated to:  

  • 13 EU countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Slovenia, Netherlands and Italy
  • 3 associated countries Norway, Switzerland and Iceland 

The voluntary mechanism aims to prepare and relocate  

  • 5,200 vulnerable asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection, 
  • including 1,600 unaccompanied migrant children and children with severe medical conditions accompanied by their family members.  

The implementation of the remainder of the pledged relocations is ongoing. 

Children awaiting their relocation flight
Children awaiting their relocation flight

Relocation procedure 

As our main implementing partner, IOM is collaborating with its partners and other sub-contracted organisations (ARSIS, Merimna, METAdrasi, PRAKSIS, Syn-eirmos, Terre des Hommes, Solidarity Now, Zeuxis) to ensure that all the beneficiaries travel in a safe and dignified manner and to prepare them before departure with the skills and information they need to ease their integration in the country of relocation. 

Steps in the EU relocation procedure

1. Identification of beneficiaries 

2. Best interest assessment (BIA) 

3. Accompaniment of beneficiaries 

4. Accommodation prior to departure 

5. Pre-migration health activities 

6. Pre-departure orientation sessions (PDO) and pre-embarkation information 

7. Airport assistance and provision of escorts during the flight 

8. Movement management and reception assistance 

Support to local communities

The local population on the Aegean islands are exposed to an enduring reception crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean and are still suffering from the economic and social consequences. That is why a coordinated approach that ends overcrowding and ensures a well managed migration is an important expression of solidarity with the local communities.   

The Commission listens to and understands the concerns and problems of the people living on the islands, as stated by Commissioner Ylva Johannsson during her visit to Lesvos and Samos, and supports the Greek authorities to improve the situation both for migrants and local communities.  

Through the funds of the North Aegean Operational Programme, the European Commission is since long supporting the economic and social fabric of the region, boosting economic development and creating job opportunities in the islands of the North Aegean. 

Assisted Voluntary Returns

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration is an indispensable part of a comprehensive approach to migration management. It aims to ensure an orderly and dignified return and reintegration of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host or transit countries and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin.   

Funded by the EU and Greece, IOM accompanied 2,565 migrants to return to their home countries in 2020, where each family received from €300 € to €2,000 of financial support depending on the country of origin and family size.