Greece has so far received 1500 Ukrainian refugees
In accordance with the pre-existing EU visa waiver programme for Ukrainian nationals, the country’s citizens were granted the standard visa free travel [to the Schengen area as established by the EU in 2017], for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.
At the time, Ukraine signed an Association Agreement with the EU, entailing cooperation and convergence on economic policy, legislation, regulation in various areas, and steps towards visa-free movement of people.
Within the initial three-month period of residency, Greece’s Migration Ministry Asylum Bureau will offer temporary, one-year international protection, with the right to work and free medical coverage and medicines.
Government spokesman Yannis Economou today said that Ukrainian citizens that do not have travel documents can enter Greece only through the passport check-point at the village of Promahonas, at the Greek-Bulgarian border.
There, in cooperation with the Ukrainian Embassy in Athens, they will be given necessary documents and will be hosted for several days at a reception centre in Sintiki, a few kilometres away.
In the event that children reach the borders on their own, there will be immediate activation of the migration ministry’s National Mechanism for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors, which provides for their transport to emergency hospitality facilities, where there will be an identification process if deemed necessary.
“Greece has a heightened historical and humanitarian sensitivity regarding war refugees, as Greeks often in the 20th century were forced to become refugees. Over the last two years, Greece has effectively restructured its refugee management procedures, in order to offer what humanitarianism and international law mandate,” Economou said.
Economou said that the migration ministry is making contacts at the EU level to arrange a mechanism for the distribution of Ukrainian refugees to all member-states, but that due to the fact that the war is still raging the refugee quotas have not yet been set.