Greece’s minister for immigration policy, Yiannis Mouzalas, on Wednesday met with mayors from different parts of the country but the talks failed to determine a timetable for the creation of screening centers for migrants, or “hot spots,” that Athens has promised the European Union it will set up by the end of the month.
During the meeting, Samos Mayor Michalis Angelopoulos opposed the proposed location for a hot spot on the eastern Aegean island, which he said he learned about in the Government Gazette. The chosen spot is inaccessible and has no access to water, Angelopoulos is said to have told the minister. The mayor of Kos, Giorgos Kyritsis, who has rejected the idea of a hot spot outright, did not attend the meeting.
Other officials who joined the talks included Savvas Hionidis, the mayor of Katerini, in northern Greece, who said local residents were against the creation of a screening center for migrants in an abandoned military facility near the village of Andromachi.
According to sources, the government is also eyeing locations in Serres and Kilkis for possible screening centers but the former army unit near Katerini is said to be the most likely choice.
Last October, Greek authorities set up a hot spot on Lesvos, which has borne the brunt of a huge migrant influx. It was the first of five such centers Athens has promised the European Union it will establish.