A Greek Coast Guard arrested two Chiots aged 49 and 47 for illegally transporting eight migrants from Chios to Psara, on the same day that Greece’s Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas signed a deal on Tuesday to house asylum seekers in about 125 apartments on the island of Crete.
According to Greek authorities the two islanders told them security checks in Psara were more lax and that they were paid 200 euros each for the sea trip. Authorities are investigating whether the two suspects had done this before and if others are involved in the transport.
Mouzalas signed the deal with UNHCR and local authorities in Heraklion which will cost about 1.7 million euros and funded by the European Commission.
“It is a program which, wherever it has been implemented, and we already have the experience of housing 20,000 people, has never caused trouble, quarrels, clashes, or anything else,” he said in a joint press conference.
“On the contrary, it has offered the local community money which would otherwise go to camps and will now be spend inside the community with the apartments,” he added.
Mouzalas also announced that as of May 1, catering services in camps will be terminated and asylum seekers will instead be given cash to buy food and cook their own meals.