All Greeks and Europeans have a humanitarian imperative to alleviate the situation on the Greek islands, for the migrants as well as for the islands’ inhabitants, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Wednesday in Mytilene. The Commissioner had earlier visited the refugee and migrant camps in Moria and Kara Tepe on the island of Lesvos.
Avramopoulos visited the island with Greek Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas, a senior official in the European Commission’s D-G ECHO service for humanitarian aid and Maarten Verwey, coordinator for implementing the EU-Turkey statement. They met with the head of the North Aegean regional authority Christiana Kalogirou, Lesvos Mayor Spiros Galinos, Chios Mayor Manolis Vournous and Samos Mayor Michalis Angelopoulos.
The Commissioner’s aim was to examine the problems that have arisen as a result of the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement at close hand. There are currently about 10,000 people stuck on the eastern Greek islands, pending the processing of their asylum applications.
Avramopoulos noted that Greece had already shown their humanity in the face of the refugee crisis and that no country should have to face such a crisis alone. “So it simply cannot be that refugees are left out in the cold, to brave the worst of winter without a roof over their heads. Solutions must be found today, not tomorrow, not next week, but now,” he said.
The EU will continue to stand by Greece’s side in providing those solutions, the Commissioner said, just as it has been doing until now. “With over 1.0 billion euros in financial support made available for Greece in the past two years, Greece is the biggest recipient of EU home affairs funding. And we are ready to provide more aid where needed,” he said.