Greece’s conservative government has decided to toughen its migration and refugee policy, following the death of a woman in the blaze at the overcrowded Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesvos. The government said that the number of those illegally entering the country has increased, and according to data, they are mainly migrants and not refugees.
The arrivals of migrants and refugees to Greece from Turkey have reached a two-year high. More importantly, Greece’s Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, recently warned that thousands of Syrian refugees are gathering in Turkey’s Izmir. Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis recently called on the EU to commit more money to help turkey stem the rising flow of migrants better.
Greece has decided to toughen the criteria for both the application and approval of asylum status applications, and to strengthen security at the border. The country will also construct new (closed) pre-deportation centers for illegal migrants and aims to return 10,000 migrants to their home countries by 2020.
Moreover, the Greek government officially announced a joint initiative by Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece at the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council on 7-8 October, where they will present a joint document on the issues related to the migration route in the eastern Mediterranean.
Leftist party Syriza, the main opposition force, accused the government of inaction. The party also criticized the government for being absent from critical EU meetings on migration, such as one among Italy, Malta, France and Germany on sharing the burden of asylum seekers.
However, Greece was not invited because the meeting referred to refugees and migrants who arrive via sea only from North Africa.