No firm commitment on decongesting islands at PM’s meeting with island mayors on refugee crisis

Emerging from a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday, the mayors of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros said they received no firm commitments about decongesting islands with hotspots of refugees and migrants. The prime minister had confirmed the government’s intention to prepare a plan for a developmental and social programme to support the islands worst hit by the migrant crisis, they added.

Chios Mayor Manolis Vournous stressed decongesting the islands was “the number one demand” since the excess population of migrants and refugees made daily life on the islands extremely difficult and gave rise to social problems. He stressed the need for a “stable approach” and to reinforce basic services, as well as security and policing on the islands.

The five mayors said they had presented the problems faced by their communities, while noting that there was no discussion about possible new hotspots during the meeting. The five mayors are also scheduled to have meetings with representatives of the political parties on Tuesday and to meet with the Island Policy Minister on Wednesday to discuss tourism promotion.