The Greek government has announced that 22 pro-migrant NGOs will cease their operations because they had failed to meet the June 14 registration deadline for the “first approval phase”.
According to the news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) some 70 groups will be allowed to submit to a “second-phase evaluation,” AFP reported. This will allow Greek officials to scrutinize their budgets and staff.
Greece’s conservative government has been trying to make the country “less attractive” to migrants, according to AFP.
Greece’s migration minister, Notis Mitarakis, told the Greek parliament in June: “Do you want to hand over the keys to NGOs? I don’t want that… cooperation with NGOs is positive, but the [overall] responsibility is ours.”
NGOs are unhappy about the new measures. Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) tweeted in response to the new measures that the “new rules stigmatize NGOs working with migrants”.
The EU Observer denounced the Greek government’s policy as a “politicized effort to curtail asylum” but the Greek government defended the move saying that it was for the sake of “transparency and accountability”.
RSA told EU Observer that the law gives the migration ministry the power to stop NGOs from registering even if they meet the requirements.
Since NGO’s now have to “show financial statements dating back two years,” it effectively blocks any new group from entering the country.
A researcher at Amnesty International said the move in Greece has been done in “the context of a deteriorating public narrative around NGOs and specifically NGOs that work with asylum seekers and migrants and people on the move in general”.
Of the €1,3 billion in EU funds sent to Greece between 2015 and 2019, more than 80 percent went directly to international organisations and NGOs, according to AFP. The Greek state managed only 1,9 percent of the funds given to sometimes shady pro-migration groups who have a vested interest in the crisis dragging on.