To relieve the crowded refugee camps on the islands in the east of the Aegean Sea, the Greek government plans to transfer thousands of migrants to the mainland - starting with 700 refugees from the camp on Samos. According to the Ministry of Civil Protection, they are scheduled to take a ferry to Piraeus on Tuesday, followed by hundreds more from other islands.
This measure was announced by the Minister for Citizens' Protection, Michalis Chryssohoidis, in Parliament last week. By the end of the year, more than 20,000 migrants are expected to be transferred from the islands to the Greek mainland. The government is responding to the protests of residents of the refugee camps. "Europe has forgotten us," said hundreds of people at a demonstration this Monday on Samos.
There are currently about 34,000 migrants awaiting there, as well as on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Leros and Kos - the highest number since the entry into force of the EU-Turkey Refugee Pact in March 2016. On the weekend alone, 433 migrants from Turkey to Greek islands had, according to the coastal week ferried. Most of the refugees come from Syria and Afghanistan.
Because of the special burden of his country, the new Greek Prime Minister called solidarity of the other EU states. It was "unacceptable" that several member states in refugee policy were pursuing the approach "that it is absolutely not their problem", criticized Kyriakos Mitsotakis and warned in the face of the Turkish offensive in northern Syria from another massive escape movement. "If you look at just the number of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea this summer compared to last summer, it's clear we're facing an acute problem."