(Greece) – The EASO, or European Asylum Support Office, is concerned about how long it has been taking to process asylum applications in Greece for the migrants and refugees. It is estimated that roughly 57,000 refugees and migrants are currently living in Greece in state-rum and makeshift camps, waiting to hear about their asylum applications.
In fact, it isn’t just Greece that has been slow with the process. Italy has been, as well. Following the release of the 2015 Annual Report, EASO representatives have said that Greece should also help other countries with their refugee burdens, as well. However, after a decision made by an official council in September 2015, it was decided that 106,000 people seeing asylum who are living in camps in both Italy and Greece will be relocated by September of 2017. Over nine months after that decision was made, however, only 2033 migrants from Greece and 793 migrants from Italy have been relocated. The EU has said that they will relocate over 63,000 people from Greece and just under 35,000 from Italy.
However, Jean-Pierre Schembri, a spokesperson with the EASO has said that the real concern is how quickly the applications are being processed in Greece. Recently, the Greek government has made attempts to speed up the process by introducing a pre-registration round, which will then be followed up with the actual registration process. The pre-registration is designed to make the registration process go much faster. However, there are still long wait times despite the improvement. Currently, around 20,000 people have gone through the registration process.
In the camps, however, morale is fairly low as people are eager to move forward with their lives after escaping their war-torn countries. The EASO has said that they are available to help Greece speed the process up considerably and they have around 50 experts who could be deployed to assist.