Ministers and local authority officials met at the Maximos Mansion on Tuesday to discuss the refugee and migration crisis, focusing on the Aegean island of Samos. They agreed on the need to decongest reception centres on the island and improve conditions at the open hospitality facilities, especially for vulnerable groups and unaccompanied minors. The meeting was chaired by Minister of State responsible for coordinating government work Alekos Flambouraris.
They also agreed on the need to speed up the procedures of asylum and refugee committees, while reinforcing the local Asylum Service with additional staff, whose numbers will increase from three in June to 28 in November. Lastly, they agreed on the necessity to set up a closed reception facility on the island.
Regarding the last issue, local officials proposed that the closed facility be set up within the Reception and Identification Centre but Alternate Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas disagreed with the suggestion on security grounds.
The meeting agreed that the flow of migrants and refugees from Turkey should continue to be monitored even more closely and that non-governmental organisation should only undertake action after consulting with Mouzalas and with the agreement of regional and municipal authorities.
Finally, they decided that there should be special measures for the relief of Samos residents, to help them cope with the financial and social repercussions of the refugee crisis, to be made more specific in a meeting between local authority officials, Samos MP Dimitris Sevastakis and Deputy Economy Minister Alexis Charitsis.
Officials attending the meeting, in addition to Flambouraris and Mouzalas, included Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas, Alternate Labour and Social Solidarity Minister Theano Fotiou, Deputy Economy Minister for NSRF issues Alexis Charitsis, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Terens Quick, the head of Mouzalas’ office Pavlos Adaktylidis, North Aegean Region Authority head Christina Kalogirou, Samos MP Dimitris Sevastakis, Samos Mayor Michalis Angelopoulos, Samos Deputy Mayor Paraskevas Papageorgiou and the president of Samos’ Harbour Fund Elissaios Mavratziotis.