Talks on crowded mi­grant cen­ters

Is­land may­ors to ask EU en­voy for im­me­di­ate trans­fers to Greek main­land

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Euro­pean Com­mis­sioner for Mi­gra­tion Dim­itris Avramopou­los is to meet in Athens to­day with the may­ors of the five eastern Aegean is­lands that are host­ing mi­grants, with the talks ex­pected to fo­cus on ways of de­con­gest­ing over­crowded re­cep­tion fa­cil­i­ties and speed­ing up the pro­cess­ing of asy­lum claims.

The may­ors of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros have formed a united front and are ex­pected to press Avramopou­los to fa­cil­i­tate the im­me­di­ate trans­fer to the Greek main­land of some 1,500 to 2,000 mi­grants. Ac­cord­ing to sources, the five may­ors claim that hun­dreds of mi­grants – 700 on Lesvos, 600 on Chios and 500 on Samos – are ready for re­lo­ca­tion; that is to say that ei­ther their asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions have been pro­cessed or they be­long to groups cat­e­go­rized as vul­ner­a­ble, such as preg­nant women, chil­dren or the el­derly.

The may­ors are also ex­pected to em­pha­size their op­po­si­tion to ten­ta­tive plans by the gov­ern­ment for the cre­ation of “closed” cen­ters on the is­lands to host mi­grants who have been linked to crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.

Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker this week ap­pealed to Euro­pean Union mem- ber-states to fin­ish re­forms on the Dublin Reg­u­la­tion by the end of June. “I would like an asy­lum agency to be­come op­er­a­tive in a hurry; the cred­i­bil­ity of Europe goes with it,” he told the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment on Wed­nes­day.

Ac­cord­ing to the Dublin sys­tem, mi­grants must seek asy­lum in the EU mem­ber-state they first ar­rived in which more of­ten than not is Greece.

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