House of Lords
Lord Laird (UUP)
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 23 January (WA 209-10), what is the major point of illegal entry by asylum seekers first registered in Greece; what is their estimate of how many asylum seekers access the United Kingdom by that route annually; and what measure and time scale they will use to decide whether Greece is compliant with the European Court of Human Rights' decision on reception conditions for asylum seekers for the purposes of resuming transfers under the Dublin regulation.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative)
We monitor the routes of illegal migrants to the EU via the Frontex Risk Analysis Network, which publishes quarterly reports on the trends and movements of illegal immigrants to the EU. It is evident from their reports that the major point of entry to the EU in the past has been via the Greek land border with Turkey.
According to the European Commission's 2011 annual report on EURODAC, there were 195 fingerprint matches in 2011 from asylum seekers who have entered the EU illegally via Greece. We think this is a low figure and have raised the issue with the Commission. It will never be possible to say exactly how many asylum seekers transit Greece en route to the UK but we believe the numbers to be significant. This is why the Government are committed to helping Greece improve the recording of fingerprints as part of its wider support for Greece in building its border security and migration management capability.
We are actively supporting Greece to build capacity and implement reforms to its asylum system. However, due to the strict austerity measures in place in Greece we feel that it will still take some time to rectify. We, and our EU counterparts, continue to monitor the situation. Successful delivery of the Greek Action Plan will ensure that Greece meets its international obligations towards asylum seekers. When it is clear to us that Greece is meeting its obligations in practice, and that as a result the criticisms detailed in the MSS v Belgium and Greece ruling no longer apply, we will seek to resume returns under the Dublin regulation.
FRAN Quarterly Risk Analysis Q3 2012