Greek government to conduct mass deportations while it tightens asylum policy for migrants

Posted on October 3, 2019 4:58 am

Following Sunday’s deadly fire at Moria migrant facility on Greece’s Lesbos island, the Greek government has announced several new measures designed to manage the surging flow of migrants coming into the country.

Stelios Petsas, a spokesperson for the Greek government, has announced that the Greek Ministerial Council has decided to clamp down on its asylum application system and increase deportations.

The government said Greece aims to deport 10,000 migrants by the end of next year, Reuters reports.

The country will also increase sea patrols, speed up asylum procedures and create close pre-departure centers for migrants who’ve entered the country illegally who are aren’t eligible for asylum or whose applications have been rejected, Petsas announced in a statement.

In recent months, Greece has been inundated with unrelenting streams of migrants landing on their shores from the Turkish coast. Europe’s largest refugee camp Moria, located on Lesbos island, has become an absolute disaster. 12,600 migrants now live at the camp that was originally designed to host about 3,000.

Yesterday, at least two people were killed after several migrants set housing units – in the center where the migrants live – on fire, and then prevented firefighters from putting it out. 

“We are really going through a national crisis,” Deputy Citizen’s Protection Minister Lefteris Economou told reporters on Lesbos. 

Athens has accused Ankara of violating the terms of the 2016 EU-Turkish migration agreement whereby Ankara promised to limit the unending flow of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa into the EU via sea transit from Turkey. 

In August, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu threated to destroy European governments when he said, “We are facing the biggest wave of migration in history. If we open the floodgates, no European government will be able to survive for more than six months. We advise them not to try our patience.”

Last month alone, Greece saw close to 7,000 migrants arrive by boat, the highest number since 2016.

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