Greece to shut overcrowded migrant camps and replace with restricted facilities  

moria ar

moria ar

Greece’s government has announced plans to overhaul the country’s migration management system. They are set to replace overcrowded camps on the islands with more restricted facilities and will move 20,000 migrants from the islands to the mainland over the next few weeks.

Greece announced plans on Wednesday to overhaul its migration management system, replacing overcrowded camps on the islands with smaller and more restricted facilities.

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his new government said on Wednesday it would tighten controls at Greece’s borders and speed up the application process.

Deputy Defense Minister Alkiviadis Stefanis announced the changes following a huge rise in the number of arrivals from Turkey, with the number of migrants now exceeding the islands’ populations in some cases.

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*Government officials presented photos of new facilities that will replace existing camps

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said authorities would create “closed pre-departure centres”, which would make it easier to control the movements of asylum seekers and prevent them from moving to the mainland undetected.

“A clear message should be sent to those planning, or thinking of coming to the country illegally when they aren’t entitled to asylum,” he said.

“They should realise, if they give money to a trafficker to bring them to Greece they will lose it.”

“In the short term, we will return security and control to the areas affected by the crisis,” he added. “Normal life will return to these areas and measures will be taken to safeguard them from future threats, with an emphasis placed on deterrence.”

The planned changes are the most significant since a landmark deal in 2016 between Turkey and the European Union to limit migration to Europe.

Stefanis said the facilities would be ready by July 2020 and referring to pending asylum requests, Stefanis said, “The numbers are huge which is why we introduced a law which from Jan. 1 will speed up the process.”