The residents of Lesvos protested against the creation of a new refugee and immigrant structure on the island.
The Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, received a hostile reception on the island when he visited Lesvos with with Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs.
“We are reacting to the new memorandum they signed with each other to create a new migrant centre of 600 acres and a capacity of 5,000 people in the area of Vastria on the island,” pointed a Mytilenian councillor to Sputnik Hellas.
Erifili Chiotelli, municipal councilor of the Municipality of Mytilene and leader of the municipal group, stressed that the island should be decongested gradually.
On the island there is already a structure for 7,000 refugees and illegal immigrants in Kara Tepe.
This centre was set up in record time and replaced the burned Moria camp.
Mitarachi stated that during the last six months, more than 6,000 refugees and illegal immigrants were removed from Lesvos.
As a result, the migrant-refugee population decreased by 58% from January 2020 to January 2021.
“Planning is outside European law and acquis,” Chiotelli emphasised.
“They will label areas as ‘special status zones’ so that things that are not practically applicable in Europe can be applied,” she continued.
“In this way, gray areas of special status will be created on the Turkish-EU border,” Chiotelli said, adding that the people are angry as the local people do not agree with this.
The pact states that “Europe can show voluntary solidarity in accepting refugees whenever and wherever it wants, while it has the right to pay an amount to the member country to which they enter and stay in its territory”, Chiotelli said.
However she warned that “the future of the islands is in jeopardy.”
Residents have received promises that the Kara Tepe structure will be closed by the end of April, but the construction of the new structure has not yet begun.
The selected location is located on the borders of the two municipalities, Mytilene and Western Lesvos, with most of it located in the Municipality of Mytilene.
“Our request is a small Identification and Reception structure and when these people apply for asylum in EU countries, they go to those countries and have their application processed there,” she said.
“If each country rejects it, it should undertake the process of returning to their place,” added Chiotelli.
At the same time, the mayor of West Lesvos, Brigadier General Verros, handed a resolution to Johansson, according to which the residents want the immediate decongestion of the island and disagree with the creation of a new superstructure.
For his part, Ioannis Mastrogiannis, president of the local community of Moria, the area where he lived for about five years, stressed that it is not possible to create a new centre in a residential area as it would result in “new problems for the local community.”