European Union member-states have practically ignored a European Commission target for them to take in some 20,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy by mid-May, the Commission said in a report issued on Wednesday, reiterating an appeal for active participation in a relocation scheme.
According to the report, only 563 asylum seekers have been moved since the EC set the 20,000 target two months ago.
In total, 1,500 people have been relocated since the scheme began late last year, a fraction of the 160,000 that EU member-states agreed to accept following negotiations prompted by a massive surge in migrant arrivals in Italy and Greece.
“We cannot be satisfied with the results achieved so far,” Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said. “More has to be done, and swiftly.”
He underlined the importance of tackling a humanitarian crisis in Greece and preventing the situation in Italy from deteriorating, and urged member-states to take in refugees.
Tensions continued to mount inside migrant reception centers in Greece on Wednesday, with some residents going on hunger strike.
At a reception facility on the island of Chios, around 50 refugees from Syria and Iraq went on hunger strike, demanding information about the status of their applications for asylum.