European Commission coordinator for the EU-Turkey agreement, Maarten Verwey, visited the island of Lesvos to present the Commission’s actions plan for the implementation of the agreement to the local authorities.
Verwey toured the refugees and migrants camp in Moria and was briefed by Lesvos municipal authorities.
Speaking to the press, he informed them on the action plan and referred to the results of the EU-Turkey agreement.
According to the Commission’s representative, EU is satisfied by the implementation of the agreement because the flows have posted a significant drop. The arrival of refugees was reduced to 25,720 after the agreement from 960,681 arrivals in ten months before the agreement. Moreover, the number of dead or missing has fallen. 1,064 dead or missing before against 69 after the agreement.
The Commission aims at the decongestion of the islands until April, one month before the start of the tourist season.
Maarten Verwey also met with the mayor of Lesvos, Spyros Galinos.
According to a municipality’s announcement, “the mayor briefed Verwey on the actions of the mayors of Kos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Lesvos as well as on their meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. He stressed the need for the island to be immediately decongested. The social cohesion on the remote Greece island is a major issue in order for the local communities to return to normality.
According to Lesvos municipality announcement, Verwey referred in detail to European Commission’s action plan with the cooperation of the Greek government and all the involving European and national agencies for the acceleration of the asylum procedures as well as the transfer of the weaker groups and people with delinquent behaviour, something that will contribute to the gradual decongestion of the refugees hosting centers. “Our common aim is the continuation of the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement in order to control the arrivals while 4,000 people have been transferred from the islands to the mainland since September 2016 with the help of EU funds.”