Greece may seek EU help to meet mi­gra­tion pledges

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Pres­sure on Greece’s im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials has in­ten­si­fied in the wake of a refugee cri­sis sum­mit at which Athens agreed to in­crease the coun­try’s re­cep­tion ca­pac­ity for mi­grants to 50,000 by the end of the year.

Sources told Kathimerini that author­i­ties were mulling a re­quest that the Euro­pean Union’s civil pro­tec­tion mech­a­nism be ac­ti­vated to help Greece meet the tar­gets.

The mech­a­nism co­or­di­nates the bloc’s hu­man­i­tar­ian aid ef­forts, chan­nel­ing financial sup­port and send­ing spe­cially equipped teams to dis­as­ter ar­eas.

“We had been pre­pared for 2,500 places – not for 20,000 in two months and an­other 20,000 via the rent-as­sis­tance pro­gram,” a source who wished to re­main anony­mous told the news­pa­per.

Mean­while, the mayor of Galatsi in north­ern Athens, which has been host­ing some 1,500 peo­ple at its Olympic Sports Hall, warned yes­ter­day that pa­tience with the sit­u­a­tion was run­ning thin.

“The un­der­stand­ing was... that the gym would op­er­ate as a re­cep­tion cen­ter un­til the end of Oc­to­ber,” said Gior­gos Markopou­los, adding that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has been pro­vid­ing food for 500 peo­ple in ad­di­tion to the 1,000 catered for by the state.

“The mu­nic­i­pal­ity has reached its lim­its,” the mayor said.

Sources said author­i­ties were ex­am­in­ing al­ter­na­tive venues that could host the mi­grants, in­clud­ing the Athens Olympic Velo­drome in Maroussi.

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