Following months of delays, a government plan foreseeing the transfer of thousands of migrants from overcrowded reception centers on Aegean islands to subsidized apartments on Crete is said to be in the final straight.
The plan was drafted last year and had been due for implementation in the fall but was delayed due to red tape involving the United Nations refugee agency, which is subsidizing the scheme, but also reservations on the part of local authorities.
In comments to Kathimerini, the mayor of Rethymno, Giorgos Marinakis, complained about the timing of the scheme.
“We had agreed to certain things last fall,” he said. “Now we’re at the beginning of the tourist season again,” he said.
However, he said that Crete can “absorb” migrants who can be employed in villages.
More than 62,000 migrants are living in cramped reception facilities on islands in the eastern Aegean and the mainland.