A Greek cabinet minister has claimed migration flows into the country have doubled since August last year.
Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said Greek islands can experience 160 to 180 arrivals a day when weather conditions are good.
“This has again created a bad situation on the islands and we are trying to improve it. We denounced it in Europe and announced it in time.
“It’s not something we tried to hide. We have overtaken it slowly but the flows remain elevated,” he told Greek radio.
He also said the EU had delayed upholding its side of a 2016 deal with Ankara on returning undocumented migrations from the Greek islands back to Turkey.
He also said those pushing for mass resettlement of migrants from the islands to the Greek mainland would push the country back to the crisis’ low point of 2015.
“Anyone who says if the islands are emptied [this] will improve the situation is wrong,” Mouzalas said, adding: “We will go back to 2015”.
The minister was the target of protests last month on the Aegean island of Chios by residents angry over the continued presence of camps and hotspots.
Chios Mayor Michalis Vournous, claimed the major problem is that the 2016 agreement between Turkey and the EU on the return of migrants who arrive in Greece illegally is not being adhered to.
He claimed that since March 2016, when the deal was signed, 50,000 migrants landed on the island but only 1,500 were returned to Turkey.