The government has yet to set up a service for the management of European Union subsidies for tackling immigration and asylum applications despite the approval in Parliament last month of legislation foreseeing the service, which is a prerequisite for Greece to continue receiving funding.
Despite a relentless influx of migrants into the country, the government has yet to find a building to house the service or appoint the 35 or so staff needed to run it, Kathimerini has learned.
The shortfall was the focus of a recent telephone conversation between European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Kathimerini understands.
According to sources close to Avramopoulos, the two men discussed “the urgent need” for the government to appoint an authority to handle EU funding to Greece for immigration and asylum. Avramopoulous pointed out that Greece is missing out on at leat 500 million euros in EU funds by failing to create the service.
Kathimerini understands that Tsipras is extremely worried about the situation and is said to be planning an emergency meeting on the issue. Government sources indicate that Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou is regarded as being chiefly responsible for the problem.
In comments to Kathimerini, Christodoulopoulou welcomed Tsipras’s involvement to accelerate the process. She noted that the bill foreseeing the creation of the immigration and asylum service was only passed into law last month and that its establishment in a matter of days is no easy matter.