On Thursday Alternate Minister for Migration Policy, Yiannis Mouzalas, shared the latest strategic plans from the Greek government to try to ease the overcrowded migrant camps around the country by building four refugee camps on Crete.
While speaking at a meeting in Heraklion about the refugee crisis with Crete’s Prefect Stravros Arnaoutakis, local MPs and mayors, Mouzalas announced the Ministry’s plans.
“In the second phase, we’d like to ask Crete to accept about 2,000 refugees or migrants who will be distributed around the island. The prefecture and municipalities can work out how to distribute them and we will respect their proposals,” he said.
Continuing Improvements of Refugee Camps in Greece
All of the refugees that will be transferred to the new facilities have already been processed and registered, Mouzalas said, and there will be efforts to keep migrants of different ethnic groups separate to avoid violent conflicts and escalating tensions which other camps have recently witnessed.
The four new camps that will be built on Crete will start construction in November, so not to impact the tourist season, Mouzalas added.
Also, he said that the new camps will differ greatly from those that are currently in operation in Greece, since there have been concerns from NPOs and health organizations over the present living conditions of the camps that have been deemed sub-par and dangerous.
Instead of camps consisting of tents or makeshift living structures, the refugees transferred to Crete will be housed in prefabricated homes, receive food and medical care along with basic education for their children.
Uncertainty of the EU-Turkey Migration Deal
According to government sources the recent influx of migration to Greece is manageable. However, officials are concerned that after the failed military coup attempt in Turkey that the unstable atmosphere in the country might cause a collapse of the EU-Turkey migration deal which states that refugees who have not been granted asylum in Greece can be sent back to Turkey, causing an even greater flow of migrants to attempt to reach the shores of Greece.
The EU-Turkey deal has been in place since March and has helped curb the flow of migration for refugees trying to enter the EU via the Turkey-Greece route.
However, on Wednesday, the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean Sea saw 169 new migrant arrivals.