Greece has been ground zero in Europe’s efforts to halt irregular migration for several years. At the same time, the country’s economic crisis has exasperated social divisions leading to increasing violence and hostility directed at foreigners.
With massive financial and operational assistance provided by the European Union, Greece has confronted migratory pressures by emphasizing interdiction, detention, and removal. A 2013 Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) report summarized: “Greece has focused on reinforcing its external borders and started a policy which relies too heavily on detention. Despite the Greek authorities’ determination to improve the asylum system and detention conditions, which in many instances remain deplorable, much still needs to be done” (PACE 2013).