The Greek Asylum Service is being overwhelmed by thousands of applications every day, it said on Tuesday, admitting that it is unable to handle the volume and is considering emergency measures to speed up the process.
The service said that just 30 EU migration officers have arrived in Greece of the 400 that were pledged to help with the inflow of applicants.
It added that it is now looking to cooperate with the relevant authorities, the European Asylum Support Office and the UN High Commission for Refugees to process applications coming from thousands refugees and migrants staying at open camps. The process, it added, should take about a month.
Meanwhile, police sources on the island of Chios told Kathimerini that a planned transfer of dozens of migrants from a camp there to Turkey under that country’s deal with the European Union would not go ahead on Tuesday, as they have applied for asylum in Greece.
The same sources also refuted media reports that some 100 migrants who were scheduled for transfer had “gone missing” from the island.
“The migrants were not ‘lost’ as the reports suggest,” the sources said. “But many have applied for asylum and, according to international conventions, cannot be relocated until their claims are processed.”
Greek authorities on Tuesday said the number of refugees and migrants trapped in Greece surpassed 52,000.