The Netherlands and Greece join forces to improve reception of foreign minors

The Netherlands and Greece are forging a partnership for the purpose of improving the reception and protection of unaccompanied foreign minors arriving in Greece. This partnership will focus on setting up and consolidating a guardianship scheme in Greece, receiving unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in Greece and supervising unaccompanied minors after the completion of their asylum procedure. Minister for Migration Ankie Broekers-Knol wrote to the Lower House of Parliament on Thursday to explain the agreement concluded with her Greek counterpart Giorgos Koumoutsakos.

For the next three years, the Netherlands will help Greece set up and consolidate a guardianship scheme for underaged asylum seekers. Greece has indicated that it is keen to benefit from Dutch expertise and trainers to organise a training course for guardian trainers. The Dutch national guardianship institution for unaccompanied and separated minors (NIDOS) has the necessary expertise in this matter. A guardian will protect and take care of the minor during and after the asylum procedure, making him or her crucial to the unaccompanied minor in question. 

Reception facilities

Furthermore, 48 unaccompanied minors will be housed in reception facilities on the Greek mainland funded by the Netherlands in the short term. These 48 spaces will remain available for three years, so that a total of at least 500 unaccompanied minors in Greece will receive short-term accommodation. In these facilities, the minors will be given psycho-social care, an education, health care, legal assistance and other forms of assistance that are required to ensure their well-being and development.

Up to 4 million in funding

Broekers-Knol will make between 3.5 and 4 million euros available in funding for this project for a period of three years. According to Broekers-Knol, this type of support not only meets the urgent safety and care needs of minor asylum seekers in the short term, but also offers these minors the best possible chance in the long term of integrating into a society where they can build a future.

No relocation

The Dutch government does not favour a temporary solution to the situation on the Greek islands, such as the ad hoc relocation of unaccompanied minors from Greece to the Netherlands. Instead, the Dutch objectives are to bring about structural improvements to the reception in Greece, speed up asylum procedures and promote repatriation.