Deputy Labour and Social Affairs Minister Domna Michailidou, in a statement on Tuesday, outlined the ministry's planned actions for improving the living conditions of unaccompanied minors in Greece.
The growing number of unaccompanied minors in Greece - whose numbers have now reached 4,501 across the country, according to the latest figures released by the National Center for Social Solidarity on September 15, 2019 - was putting enormous pressure on child protection mechanisms in the country, Michailidou said. She also noted the need for action to improve living conditions for these unaccompanied minors, especially in light of the recent events in the Moria hotspot.
"The places available in the accommodation facilities are not sufficient to meet the needs of these children, while alternative forms of accommodation, such as temporary accommodation in hotels, cannot be fully implemented at this time due to the careless planning of the previous government."
Specifically, the government will proceed with:
- Investigating, through the National Center for Social Solidarity (EKKA), the possibility of moving as many unaccompanied minors as possible from the islands to the mainland. In particular, it will make every effort to accomodate the most vulnerable children on the islands.
- Sending an urgent request to the European Commission, within the week, to continue emergency funding for hotels to house unaccompanied minors, under the responsibility of the International Organisation for Migration, until June 2020.
- Seeking, in cooperation with the Ministry of Citizen Protection, to accelerate the use of funding from the European Union's Asylum and Migration Fund, with the aim of providing more long-term accommodation in appropriate structures.
- Exploring the possibility of utilising state-owned real estate for the purpose of creating new facilities, in collaboration with interested non-governmental organisations with knowledge and experience in child protection issues.
- Accelerating the implementation of existing planning to promote alternative forms of child protection, such as foster care.