Greece plans to relocate a large number of migrants to the mainland to relieve the islands on the Eastern Aegean Sea, despite the fact that EU Turkey Deal provides that new arrivals after march 20th should stay in hot spots on these islands and be prevented from further travel.
Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of European Affairs, Nikos Xydakis, told German conservative Die Welt, that Greece “will soon begin to bring a large number of migrants to the mainland to relieve the islands in the eastern Aegean. This will be very well organized and conducted in a legal manner. We will accommodate them in guarded premises”.
The minister blamed the EU for the appalling situation and the occasional unrest in some refugee camps on the islands as a result of member-states reluctance to relocate refugees as well as lack of support. And he warned that with refugees and migrants keep coming to Greece “the situation in the camps can easily escalate.”
“For the time being, 7,000 refugees could be immediately relocated from Greece to other EU countries, all formalities for this procedure have been met. But it does not happen.
Most EU countries take far too few refugees from Greece, some EU countries do not even respond to our requests,” said Xydakis.
Since September 2015, only about 3,500 of the agreed 65,000 refugees were distributed to other European countries. “This is far too little,” said Xydakis.
The Minister also criticized the lack of support in terms of EU members provide asylum experts to Greece.
“The EU Commission said in March this year that we needed 400 officers from the Asylum Agency EASO. To date, only 26 officers have come to the islands. We need extremely urgent more support from the EU countries in tackling the refugee crisis in Greece. I expect that the Europeans now show solidarity and not only make promises, but also act,” the minister stressed.
Commenting on the proposal by German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere (CDU) that Greece should take back refugees form Germany, Xydakis said that “It is not realistic to insist on enforcement of the Dublin Regulation and deport refugees from other countries back to Greece. That would overwhelm my country, “Xydakis said.
There were already 60,000 refugees in Greece. “This number brings us to the breaking point. If other EU countries, send people who have landed in Greece back to us, then we would soon have one or two million refugees,” the minister underlined.