The Norwegian ship Siem Pilot is participating in the Triton operation in the central Mediterranean. Photo: Kripos.The Norwegian ship Siem Pilot is participating in the Triton operation in the central Mediterranean. Photo: Kripos

Norway supports handling of migrants in Greece

Last updated: 08.04.2016 // Norway is increasing its support to the handling of migrants in Greece. Since the new deal between the EU and Turkey on return of illegal migrants in Greece to Turkey, Norway and other European countries are sending more personnel to assist Greece in the registration and processing of migrants.

152,152 migrants have so far arrived Greece in 2016, and most of them arrived before the new arrangement on control of migration flow between the EU and Turkey came into force on 20 March 2016. Considerably fewer migrants have arrived since. Due to the new arrangement, economic migrants and refugees are no longer allowed to transit to other European countries. Those who choose not to seek asylum in Greece, or whose claim is rejected, are expected to be returned to Turkey. A resettlement scheme at the same times means Syrian refugees will be resettled from Turkey to Europe.

Even though there are fewer arrivals, the processing of each individual case in Greece requires a lot of resources. The Norwegian contribution includes:

  • Norwegian personnel is participating in operations led by Greek authorities and the EU border agency, Frontex, of which Norway is a member. Service personnel from the Norwegian police are now present at the islands Kos and Chios, where they are part of a planned pool of 1,500 people, assisting Greece with the registration and return of migrants to Turkey. The Norwegian contribution has come into place after Frontex asked Norway to contribute to the implementation of the deal between the EU and Turkey. Norway will shortly send additional service personnel to Kos and Lesvos.
  • Norway also contributes with personnel and material resources to rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea; the search and rescue vessel Peter Henry von Koss from The Society for Sea rescue is a part of the Frontex operation Poseidon east in the Mediterranean, whilst the ship Siem Pilot is participating in the Triton operation in the central Mediterranean.
  • The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration have sent five experts to the Greek mainland, through the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). Four of these experts work with informing migrants about relocation and identifying persons who want to be a part of the relocation programme. These cases are registered and transferred to be processed by Greek authorities. The fifth expert helps the Greek Ministry of Interior & Administrative Reconstruction in their work on migration projects funded by the EEA grants. Norwegian authorities are now considering a request from EASO related to the need for additional 400 experts on the Greek islands.

Norwegian efforts also includes:

  • EUR 24,2 million in aid to Greece to existing asylum programmes through the EEA-grants. The aid will strengthen the Greek reception points.
  • Aid to Greece through the EU’s cooperation mechanism for civil capacity and handling of crises. So far, Norway has contributed with 1,000 bunk beds and 2,000 mattresses.
  • NOK 6 million to the dispatch of humanitarian experts through the Norwegian Refugee Council emergency roster Norcap, to help with the handling of the migration situation in Greece and other South-European countries.
  • Reception of a considerable amount of Syrian resettlement refugees. Norway offers resettlement for up to 3,000 refugees from Turkey in 2016. Norway has also offered to relocate 1,500 people over a two year period as part of the EU relocation scheme.
  • The humanitarian assistance to conflicted countries and refugees is increased to a new record level – NOK 1,57 billion disbursed to Syria and neighbouring countries in 2015.

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