Greece is building pre-removal detention facilities on the Aegean islands with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement. These will be separate from the Reception and Identification Centres on the hotspots where newly arrived refugees and migrants are initially detained.

The construction of pre-removal detention centres on the islands marks a shift away from previous efforts of the Greek authorities to transfer people from the hotspots to detention centres on the mainland. Greece currently has six pre-removal centres with a total of 5,215 places in Amygdaleza, Petrou Ralli, Corinth, Paranesti, Xanthi and Orestiada.

According to the EU Coordinator for the implementation of the statement, the pre-removal detention centres on the islands would be a temporary solution to increase the number of returns to Turkey. On Kos, a pre-removal detention centre has been established by a Ministerial Decision entering into force in February 2017 until the end of 2017. The costs of construction of the centre are estimated at €4.5 million. Reference has also been made to pre-removal centres in the remaining hotspots, although an implementing legal instrument has yet to be issued.

The expansion of detention practice to promote returns from EU border countries goes beyond Greece. At the end of 2016, Italy announced the re-opening of four Identification and Expulsion Centres (CIE) not currently operating. The government also requested the CIE in Rome, Torino, Brindisi and Caltanissetta to reserve 90 places each, specifically for Nigerian nationals.

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