Athens has space but no cash to host mi­grants

Gov’t avoided tap­ping EU mech­a­nism to stop Greece be­com­ing transit coun­try

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

As thou­sands of mi­grants and refugees con­tinue to stream into Greece from Tur­key, de­spite the wors­en­ing weather, author­i­ties in Athens, where most of the new ar­rivals end up, say they lack the fund­ing to host them all.

Although there are sev­eral venues that could be trans­formed into tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion, there is no money for such projects, lo­cal author­i­ties say. A City of Athens of­fi­cial said there are sites where makeshift camps could be set up so that mi­grants can be re­lo­cated from cen­tral squares. One such site is next to a tem­po­rary fa­cil­ity for mi­grants that was set up in Elaionas over the sum­mer. But to make the new site op­er­a­tional, author­i­ties would need to make costly in­vest­ments, in­clud­ing plumb­ing.

There are many empty ho­tels and other dis­used build­ings that could be trans­formed into stop­gap re­cep­tion cen­ters if pri­vate fund­ing were of­fered as a tem­po­rary so­lu­tion. But there has been lit­tle in­ter­est in of­fer­ing help, pos­si­bly be­cause oth­ers who have of­fered their ser­vices for free on the un­der­stand­ing that they would be rec­om­pensed have yet to re­ceive any money.

Greece ap­pealed for emer­gency aid from the Euro­pean Union over the sum­mer to deal with a grow­ing mi­gra­tion cri­sis. But it did not seek to ac­ti­vate the EU’s civil pro­tec­tion mech­a­nism, ap­par­ently due to fears that this would es­tab­lish Greece as a transit coun­try for mi­grants and refugees head­ing to­ward Western and North­ern Europe, Kathimerini un­der­stands.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.