Out of 40 groups currently active in camps, 22 were eliminated from a first approval phase after failing to apply by June 14, the ministry said in a statement.

A view of a makeshift camp for refugees and migrants next to the Moria camp, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, March 11, 2020.
A view of a makeshift camp for refugees and migrants next to the Moria camp, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, March 11, 2020. (Reuters)

Greece's migration ministry on Wednesday said it would remove from asylum-seeker camps nearly two dozen support groups that had failed to meet a registration deadline.

Out of 40 groups currently active in camps, 22 were eliminated from a first approval phase after failing to apply by June 14, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said that overall, 70 organisations had progressed to a second-phase evaluation.

The registration process includes budget scrutiny and staff criminal background checks.

The conservative Greek government that came to power a year ago has strongly tightened migration regulations. Its avowed aim is to make Greece a "less attractive" destination to migrants.

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Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi is holding a virtual meeting on June 17, 2020.
Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi is holding a virtual meeting on June 17, 2020. (Twitter/@nmitarakis)

NGO's previous projects under question

Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi has called previous rules on NGO operations "too flexible" and open to exploitation.

"Do you want to hand over the keys to NGOs? I don't want that... cooperation with NGOs is positive, but the (overall) responsibility is ours," Mitarachi told parliament in early June.

He has also questioned whether 1.5 billion euros provided by the European Union in 2015-2019 for migration support projects — of which over 80 percent was assigned to international organisations and NGOs, according to the ministry — was properly managed.

"There are those who want NGOs to continue to manage (1.5) billion euros without the Greek state being aware of procedures," the minister said.

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Source: AP