Greek PM and Austrian Chancellor Visit the Island of Lesvos



Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann arrived at the Greek island of Lesvos on Tuesday to witness first hand the extent of the refugee crisis in Greece and how it is being managed.

Faymann was greeted by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras upon his landing at the island’s airport.

The two statesmen witnessed refugees boarding the “Eleftherios Venizelos” passenger ship at the port of Mytilene. Eleftherios Venizelos has been transporting migrants and refugees from the Greek islands to the port of Piraeus in mainland Greece since August.

Protothema newspaper reports that 4,454 migrants and refugees from Lesvos arrived at the port of Piraeus on Tuesday while another 2,466 refugees left the island with the Eleftherios Venizelos ship later in the day. The newspaper further cites information that claims that 4,000 migrants and refugees are still on the island.

After leaving the port, Tsipras took Faymann to see the Kara-Tepe refugee settlement as well as the Moria Identification and Reception centre. The two heads of state interacted with migrants and refugees residing in the two facilities.

“Today we had the opportunity to see together, along with the Austrian Chancellor, a different side of Europe. The good side, the solidarity side. Greece is a country in crisis, a country with limited capabilities. And Lesvos is a relatively small island that is faced with huge refugee influxes who come from the war region of Syria looking for a better future in Europe,” Tsipras said following his tour with Faymann.

The Greek premier added that these refugees are asking to be treated in a humane manner, to be provided with food, to be identified and continue their journey to secure and better future.

The United Nations had announced on October 2nd that it expects the number of refugees and migrants that have entered Greece in 2015 to reach 400,000 soon.

“This is not a Greek problem. This is a global and European problem. And since the problem is European we are obliged to face it together. The European Union does not have a point of existence if it does not operate with the values of solidarity and cooperation as its standards,” Tsipras noted. 

Tispras and Faymann at the Moria Reception and Identification Centre: