Answer to Written Question: Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum’s comments on certain NGOs helping migrants

(Source: European Parliament)



Answer given by Ms Johansson

on behalf of the European Commission


Under the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Commission has no powers to investigate individual criminal cases. In this specific case, the Greek law enforcement and judicial authorities have the sole competence to investigate and prosecute cases related to non-governmental organisations and their possible role in facilitating irregular migration.

As regards to the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence, the Facilitation Directive 2002/90/EC[1] obliges Member States to appropriately penalise anyone who, either intentionally assists a non-EU country national to enter or transit through an EU country, or assists a non-EU country national to reside in an EU country for financial gain. At the same time, when defining the offence, the Directive provides the possibility for Member States to exempt humanitarian assistance from being criminalised. It is in this spirit and in line with the provisions of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights that the Commission issued guidance[2] on the implementation of the Facilitation Directive.

The EU is delivering on its commitments under the EU-Turkey Statement and expects Turkey to fully implement on all elements of the Statement, including the prevention of irregular migration to the EU. Efforts should also include stepping up measures to fight migrant smuggling. The Commission has been clear on these points in contacts with the Turkish authorities at all levels.

[1] OJ L 328, 5.12.2002, p. 17.

[2] C(2020) 6470 of 23 September 2020.

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