Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on Germany and other EU states to take in migrants and asylum seekers directly from the island of Lesvos.
“The idea is that a portion of the asylum application process be carried out in other countries,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
“We need to develop a European asylum and migration pact, like what the [European] Commission promised, and in dealing with this problem, we need more burden sharing,” he said.
The registration camps for migrants on the Greek islands in the east of the Aegean Sea are severely overcrowded.
Following a recent inspection of the camp on Lesvos, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi declared the situation catastrophic.
Ylva Johansson, the EU’s new commissioner for home affairs, has said there is an urgent need to reform the bloc’s asylum policies.
Last month, Greece announced plans to overhaul its migration management system, replacing overcrowded refugee camps on the islands with smaller detention facilities and moving some 20,000 asylum seekers to the mainland over the next few weeks.
Camps on Lesvos and four other islands in the eastern Aegean Sea are suffering dramatic overcrowding ahead of the winter, with hundreds of families sleeping in tents and often in poor sanitary conditions outside the official facilities. Approximately 39,000 people live in and around the camps on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros und Kos, according to government estimates. The total official capacity of the camps is approximately 7,500 people.
“In the short term, we will return security and control to the areas affected by the crisis,” Deputy Defense Minister Alkiviadis Stefanis said.