The number of refugees and migrants on Greek islands has dropped by 15 percent since the start of the year, Migration & Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi said on Friday.
In an interview to Skai TV, the minister said that since January 1 a total of 13,000 individuals have been transferred from the islands to the mainland, fulfilling a demand by islanders that hotspots be decongested.
An accelerated processing of asylum applications will also help decongest facilities by the departure of people who have been granted refugee status, he noted.
According to Mitarachi, migrant arrivals have dropped by 91 pct from May, compared to 2019. He warned however that “pressure on the (Greek) borders is expected to continue, and, as summer approaches, to rise.” The government’s priority is “to guard maritime and land borders, but this in no way means zero migration flows, it means significant reduction of them,” he added.
Helping the migration issue he noted is the appointment of chief administrators at Greece’s 32 reception centers on the mainland has “returned control of facilities to the state, on mainland Greece.” Additional positions will be advertised so that every facility has a small administrative force that can manage it fully, he announced.