Juncker sees ‘heroic’ mi­grant ef­forts

EC pres­i­dent ex­presses sup­port amid in­crease in ar­rivals on Aegean is­lands

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

As of­fi­cial fig­ures point to a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in un­doc­u­mented mi­grants seek­ing to en­ter the Euro­pean Union, Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker yes­ter­day de­scribed Greece and Italy as “heroic” in their ef­forts to tackle the prob­lem and pledged ad­di­tional Euro­pean sup­port.

In the past week alone, a to­tal of 813 mi­grants ar­rived on the Greek is­lands from neigh­bor­ing Turkey, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment fig­ures made pub­lic yes­ter­day. Lo­cal re­ports sug­gest that con­di­tions at mi­grant re­cep­tion cen­ters on Chios and Lesvos are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly cramped and un­pleas­ant, as ar­rivals have spiked due to the good weather and only a hand­ful of mi­grants are be­ing sent back to Turkey. As of yes- ter­day, there were 3,767 mi­grants on Chios and 4,484 on Lesvos.

Chios and Samos have an ad­di­tional prob­lem as, due to the ob­jec­tions of lo­cal res­i­dents, they both lack pre-de­par­ture cen­ters for mi­grants whose asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions have been re­jected.

Po­lice sources at­tribute the small num­ber of re­turns to the slow pro­cess­ing of mi­grants’ asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions. One rea­son for the de­lay is that the Coun­cil of State has yet to rule on the ap­peals of two Syr­i­ans against their re­turn to Turkey on the grounds that the coun­try is un­safe. Mean­while there has been an in­crease in the num­ber of mi­grants ap­peal­ing to the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights against the re­jec­tion of their ap­pli­ca­tions for asy­lum.

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