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Putting solidarity to the test: Assessing Europe’s response to the asylum crisis in Greece

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Introduction

The challenges facing refugees in Greece are widely known. Since 2007, a stream of reports has documented serious deficiencies during every stage of the refugee experience, from arrival at the border through implementation of a final asylum decision. The humanitarian situation has improved somewhat in 2011, but at the same time the challenge facing Greece has grown. The European Union’s administrative and physical external border control regimes have become more stringent, rendering many former routes into the EU inaccessible.

2010 saw a massive shift of migration flows to the Evros region, the land border between Greece and Turkey. More than 80% of all irregular entries into the EU now cross this border. Greece bears the responsibility for securing the rights and providing for the needs of nearly all the refugees among this population, as an EU law known as the ‘Dublin regulation’ requires that most people in need of protection request it of the first member state they physically enter.