In May 2015 the Commission introduced a new ‘hotspot’ approach in order to assist Greece and Italy in coping with the sudden dramatic increase in irregular migrants arriving at their external borders. In this report we conclude that, in both countries, the hotspot approach has ensured that most of the arriving migrants in 2016 were properly identified, registered and fingerprinted and their data checked against relevant security databases. However, despite considerable support from the EU, at the end of 2016 the reception facilities in both countries were still not adequate. There was also a shortage of adequate facilities to accommodate and process unaccompanied minors in line with international standards. The hotspot approach further requires that migrants be channelled into appropriate follow-up procedures, i.e. national asylum application, relocation to another Member State or return to the country of origin. Implementation of these follow-up procedures is often slow and subject to various bottlenecks, which can have repercussions on the functioning of the hotspots.
Special report no 06/2017: EU response to the refugee crisis: the ‘hotspot’ approach