Italy and Greece have called on northern EU member states to accept migrants, demanding that they share the burden of the migrant crisis, BBC reported on Tuesday.
While the number of migrants arriving in Greece and Italy has declined tangibly since 2015, camps in Italy and Greece are still overcrowded. Last week’s fire which almost entirely destroyed the Moria migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos has left some 12,000 migrants virtually without shelter.
Central and Eastern European EU member states continue to reject calls for imposing quotas on the intake of migrants even as the European Commission is about to present new plans for addressing the migrant crisis.
Greek Minister for Citizen Protection Michalis Chrisochoidis noted that Greek police have arrested five young migrants and are looking for a sixth in relation to the Moria fires. Greek authorities had accused migrants of torching the Moria camp, claiming they did so out of anger at measures introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, migrants said the fires were started by hostile locals.
Having moved some 800 occupants from the Moria camp to a temporary camp at Kara Tepe, Greek authorities announced that 21 had tested positive for coronavirus and were being isolated.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is equipping the temporary camp., which Greece’s Minister for Immigration and Asylum Notis Mitarachi has told the Greek daily Ekathimerini is capable of housing all former Moria occupants. Most of the migrants, however, are reluctant to enter the temporary camp and want to leave Lesbos, according to Greek officials. Most of the migrants cannot leave the island until their asylum applications have been processed.
After meeting with EU Council President Charles Michel in Athens on Tuesday, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said it was high time the EU’s translated its expressions of verbal support into tangible actions.