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Europe Must Act condemns the EU Commission's plans to build closed camps on the Greek islands

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

[27.01.2021, 09:00 CET]

For Immediate Release

Today the Deputy Director-General in charge of the “Task Force Migration Management” in DG Migration and Home Affairs, Beate Gminder, presented the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the EU and Greece to the EU Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). The signed MoU as well as the facilities already under construction and in planning, for example on the islands of Lesvos and Samos, do not contribute to a humane asylum and migration policy in the EU. It is clear to see that with the signing of the MoU, the first steps of the presented "New Pact on Migration and Asylum" are already to be put into practice.

Jacob Warn, Field Coordinator from Europe Must Act: "As employees of NGOs who have been working on the ground in the Aegean for years, we see everyday that people in these camps cannot be accommodated in a humane way. Closed camps would only aggravate the situation of refugees on the islands. It cannot be that people who have already been traumatized several times have to live in closed camps where they are traumatized once again. Our campaigns will therefore focus on showing alternative solutions with humane accommodation and distribution of people among EU member states as soon as possible."

Europe Must Act and their city chapters across Europe are initiating a campaign #NoMoreCamps against the proposed closed structures in the Aegean Islands. They announced on Sunday that they will campaign through action days, social media, press updates, webinars and more to advocate for humane reception of asylum seekers in Europe.

Europe Must Act is planning a Europe-wide action day on March 18. Together with their city chapters they are campaigning for meetings with MEPs and MPs. They will also release another Aegean Grassroots report, which will build on years of experience working closely with the affected refugee and host communities to predict the realistic outcome of the new camps. Further actions will be announced throughout the year.

Claire Low, Campaign Coordinator from Europe Must Act: “Our 50+ chapters across Europe have worked both together and autonomously over the past 10 months to campaign peacefully for both an end to the appalling Greek hotspot camps and more welcoming reception conditions in their individual countries. While camp residents continue to face physically and mentally hazardous conditions, our local leaders must show they stand for human rights and dignity by offering to welcome refugees and asylum seekers from the Greek hotspot camps, and ensuring their own countries provide a supportive new home for those who are legally entitled to it.”

Europe Must Act (EMA) is a growing grassroots movement, bringing together volunteers and NGOs to campaign for the humane, dignified and legal reception of refugees in Europe. EMA was established in March 2020 by a group of volunteers on the Greek Aegean islands of Chios and Samos in response to the ever-worsening situation of the hotspot camps. For more information about EMA, please visit

The new closed structure in Samos, Greece. Pictures by Europe Must Act.

Further comments available.


Key Links + Pictures

Pictures new camp on Samos here Memorandum of Understanding here

EMA Aegean Grassroot Report 2020 here

Report on construction of new Aegean camps (February 2021) here


Frankie Ellwood, Communications Coordinator, Europe Must Act

+44 7487 839549

Christian Schmidt, Communications Coordinator, Europe Must Act

+49 157 3513 2910


Europe Must Act is a campaign group run by a coalition of NGOs working on the Aegean Islands. Find out more here.


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