Greece to transfer ‘large number of refugees’ to mainland, minister says

TAGS: Migration, EU

Nikos Xydakis, junior foreign minister for European affairs, has indicated that most of the refugees on Greece’s Aegean islands will be transferred to the mainland.

“We will start the transfer of a large number of refugees to ease the pressure on the islands,” Xydakis told Die Welt in an interview published Wednesday.

He said refugees would be moved to guarded facilities in a “well-organized” and “orderly” manner.

In the same interview, the leftist minister criticized Greece’s European Union partners for not accepting enough refugees under an agreed relocation program.

“Most member states do not take in enough refugees from us. Some countries do not respond to our requests at all,” Xydakis said adding that only around 3,500 of the 65,000 refugees stranded in Greece had been relocated since September last year.

His comments came as Chios residents were planning to hold a protest rally on Wednesday demanding immediate measures to reduce the number of migrants on the island.

The rally, organizers said, will be closely monitored to avoid the intrusion of far-right elements as was the case at a recent protest.

The total number of people stranded on eastern Aegean islands now stands at 13,863.