Monday 29 May 2023
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Refugees from Greek islands to other reception camps

Greece wants to evacuate three refugee camps and place the refugees elsewhere in closed camps. In the three camps on the islands of Lesbos, Samos and Chios off the coast of Turkey, more than 27,000 people now live together.

In the coming weeks, around 20,000 asylum seekers will also have to be moved from the islands to the Greek mainland. The steps follow an increase in the number of migrants trying to enter the country via Turkey.

Among the camps being replaced is the notorious camp Moria. Around 3,000 people officially fit in there, but more than 15,000 migrants currently live in miserable conditions. The other two camps, on Kos and Leros, will be renovated and expanded. The situation on those islands is said to be less dramatic. Another 5,000 people are staying there.

Over the past four months, 40,000 migrants have arrived in Greece, reports the Greek government. In a recent interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt, Prime Minister Mitsotakis lashed out at the European Union, which "ignores the problem". "This cannot continue like this," said the Greek prime minister.

The European Court of Auditors is very critical of the way in which the EU deals with migrants and refugees arriving in Greece and Italy. In recent years, after the arrival of more than one million refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, an emergency operation has been initiated to distribute immigrants fairly across Europe. Greece and Italy had asked for that. These two countries simply could not process the power.

The European Court of Auditors found last week that the measures are far from sufficient. The intention was to make people move faster from Greece and Italy to the rest of the European Union. The number of refugees coming to Europe has meanwhile decreased, but that has not led to the pressure on the so-called 'hotspots' being relieved.

In Greece, which has the biggest problems, the capacity has been increased, but not nearly enough to make up the arrears that have arisen. For example, the registration of refugees and the taking of their fingerprints has improved considerably, but it is just going too slowly. There is also a lack of experts who have to investigate whether or not people are eligible for asylum.

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