As around 2,000 migrants continue to arrive on the Greek islands per day the EU plan to set up five “hotspots” to register, screen and interview asylum seekers is moving forward.
Other islanders are slowing the process amid fears the centres will hurt tourism, but on Lesbos, inundated by migrants over the summer, the system is up and running.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was on hand to lend his support: “Countries in the European Union, including France, must help Greece, that’s the object of this visit. hotspots must begin operating quickly so that the identification and fingerprinting is effective and efficient.”
The war in Syria, the bailout terms and the proximity of Turkey with its millions of refugees are placing huge pressure on the Greek government, Yannis Mouzalas, is the Greek migration minister: “The flows of refugees and illegal immigrants must be dealt at their country of origin. The war in Syria, must stop, but until then, we talk about the Turkish coast. This is where they are coming from.”
Our correspondent on Lesbos is Apostolos Staikos: “Despite the winter hundreds of refugees still arrive on the island. The European Union, the Greek government and NGO’s realise that there is no time to waste. They must be ready because on the Turkish coast, thousands of people are waiting to board boats.”