N. Mitarachi: Today in Leros and Kos, as a few days ago in Samos and in a few months in Chios and Lesvos, we inaugurate the new Closed Controlled Access Centers, with a view to the future. Images we can all recall from the period 2015-2019 belong definitely to the past.

The Minister of Migration and Asylum, Mr. Notis Mitarachi, inaugurated two new Closed Controlled Access Centers in Leros and Kos

The Minister of Migration and Asylum, Mr. Notis Mitarachi, attended the inauguration of the two new Closed Controlled Access Centers in Leros and Kos,in the presence of the Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life, Mr. Margaritis Schinas..

The new Closed Controlled Access Centers in Leros and Kos contain all the modern technical and functional infrastructure that makes them safe, controlled access centers, with upgraded living conditions for residents and advanced working facilities for their staff.

The two facilities aim to ensure decent living conditions for the asylum seekers but also to safeguard proper implementation of the necessary reception and identification procedures.

Leros

The new Closed Controlled Access Center in Leros island is built in an area of approximately 60 acres, at the Lepida location.

It has a capacity of 1540residents, which can be divided as follows:

  • 1.440 persons consisting of general population
  • 100 unaccompanied minors
  • 240 persons belonging in vulnerable groups, single parent families, women

The accommodation spaces are developed in 8,900 sq.m. and are divided into separate, distinct zones, while consisting of 7 two-storey residential buildings sized 1,000 sq.m., 3 ground floor residential buildings sized 500 sq.m., and 1 ground floor residential building sized 400 sq. The positioning of the asylum seekers will be based on ethnic and social criteria (families, people with mobility disabilities, serious health problems, pregnant women). Pre – removal Detention Center is included.

The construction budget is about 30.18 million euros plus 17% VAT (summing to a total of 35.30 million euros) and is funded 100% by the European Union - Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund / Emergency Assistance.

Kos

The new Closed Controlled Access Center in Kos Island is built in an area of approximately 90 acres, at the location of the former camp “Makrigiannis”, on both sides of the existing new Closed Controlled Access Center.

It has a capacity of 1540 residents, which can be divided as follows:

  • 960 persons consisting of general population
  • 100 unaccompanied minors
  • 480 persons belonging in vulnerable groups, single parent families, women

The accommodation spaces are developed in 8,900 sq.m. and are divided into separate, distinct zones, while consisting of 6 two-storey residential buildings sized 1,000 sq.m., 5 ground floor residential buildings sized 500 sq.m., and 1 ground floor residential building sized 400 sq.m. The positioning of the asylum seekers will be based on ethnic and social criteria (families, people with mobility disabilities, serious health problems, pregnant women). Pre – removal Detention Center is included.

The construction budget is about 33,64 million euros plus 17% VAT (summing to a total of 39,36 million euros) and is funded 100% by the European Union - Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund / Emergency Assistance.

The two Closed Controlled Access Centers are walled by an external, NATO-type security fence, which in combination with the installation of the required control systems, such as turnstiles, magnetic gates, x-rays, two-factor access control system (identity and fingerprint) at the entrance, ensures safe and controlled entry and exit from the structure to whoever is authorized. Additionally, the installation of Closed Surveillance System (CCTV) is provided throughout the centers, with the use of “smart” software, in order to alert in time of any emergencies, while it is capable of giving notifications and images to the Local Event Center, to the Control Center in Athens and to the Control Centers of other involved bodies (for instance the Hellenic Police). Also, double fencing, NATO type, along with tourniquets using card readers have been placed, with scanning of fingerprints, in the separate sections of the structure, for the protection of their personnel but also for the protection of the vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied children and single-parent families.

The inauguration was also attended by the General Secretary for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, Mr. Manos Logothetis, the Prefecture of the Aegean, Mr. George Chatzimarkou and the MPs of ND, Mr. Vassilis Ypsilantis and Mr. Giannis Papas. 

The Minister of Migration and Asylum, Mr. Notis Mitarachi, stated:

‘’The completion of the National Reception System is a key pillar of our strict but fair migration policy from the outset.

Two and a half years later, we are able to say that with a plan, systematic effort, patience and perseverance, we have clearly regained control of the migration and we have finally left behind the crisis that began in 2015. A crisis that neither Greece nor Europe want to live again.

Today in Leros and Kos, as a few days ago in Samos and in a few months in Chios and Lesvos, a new period begins. Images that we all can recall from the period 2015-2019 belong definitely to the past. Today, we are launching the new Closed Controlled Access Centers, with a view to the future. We are disengaging our islands from migration and its consequences satisfying the universal demand of workers, residents and islanders for more security, better infrastructure and control of the situation. "

The Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life, Mr. Margaritis Schinas, stated:

‘’The new, modern multipurpose reception and identification centres that we inaugurated today on Leros and Kos islands are another tangible proof of Europe's unreserved solidarity to Greece.

These two centres, which were built with 100% European funding, will replace the old facilities on the island, which are closing down permanently.

Today is undoubtedly a historic day, sealing the implementation of a decision we took just one year ago, in November 2020, when the European Commission agreed to finance the construction of new centres on our frontline islands, at the external borders of the European Union.”

The Secretary General of Reception of Asylum Seekers, Mr. Manos Logothetis, stated: 

‘’With the opening of the two Closed Controlled Access Centers in Leros and Kos, we are steadily moving towards the completion of the National Reception System. Both islands have been at the forefront of migration crisis in the past with the local communities being under disproportionate migratory pressures. All these belong to the past. Today, we are moving forward, in close cooperation with the EU, with respect for international law and human dignity. We stand with confidence and determination in the face of the challenges of the 21st century.’’st αιώνα.”

The General Manager for Sustainable Engineering Solutions (SES) Business Unit of MYTILINEOS, Mr. Panagiotis Gardelinos, stated:

"We designed, developed, and constructed under the guidance of the Migration and Asylum Ministry centers with separate health, education, sports, social and psychological support and safety structures; with playgrounds; with special structures for families, single-parent families and unaccompanied children; with shops for all essential commodities; with the necessary biological treatment plants. We adopted best international practices, and we used international safety and quality standards. We relied on the remarkable workforce of Leros, since the vast majority of workers (on average 100 people per day) were residents on the island.

Today we deliver a project with MYTILINEOS’ distinctive hallmark of quality. A leading international industrial and energy Company with a dynamic presence on all 5 continents."

The President and CEO of PLANET S.A., Mr. Chr. Giannakopoulos, stated:

"The first phase of the Ministry of Migration and Asylums effort to effectively address the problem of hosting third-country nationals seeking asylum in our country is concluded, while fully respecting human rights and the right to decent living conditions as well as safeguarding public order and the safety of local communities.

We are therefore particularly pleased, as we were part of this painstaking but absolutely successful effort of the political leadership of the Ministry, its competent services headed by the Technical Services Directorate, and the contractor MYTILINEOS. Obviously special mention should be made of the EU's DG MIGRATION AND HOME AFFAIRS (DG HOME), which embraced Ministry’s vision from the beginning, approved the financing of the project with 100% EU funds and was a valuable contributor to all the steps of its implementation."

The Regional Governor of the South Aegean, Mr. George Chatzimarkou, stated:

"In the refugee-migration issue, South Aegean has paid a very heavy price in recent years - higher than it deserves - and has managed to hold high the dignity not only of its islands, but of the whole country, honoring history, its culture and humanity.

The protection of the islands against situations and dangers similar to those we faced in 2015, cannot be a theoretical discussion. Our neighborhood with Turkey and history show us that we must operate on the basis of a coherent plan. The protection of our islands requires action and decisions that lead to solutions. "The decongestion of our islands also proves who respects them."

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