Athens seeks EU aid for migration
Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias and Merchant Marine Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis on Monday accompanied visiting European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom on a tour of a new migrant reception center on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos and stressed that Greece needs additional European Union funding to continue adequately monitoring the bloc’s southeastern flank due to a relentless influx of immigrants.
Malmstrom is said to have expressed satisfaction at the conditions of the new reception center, which is located near the village of Moria just north of the capital of Mytilene, while she also spoke to migrants being held there “about their fears and anxieties.”
In comments to reporters, Kikilias conveyed Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s concern regarding “the increase in migrant flows being observed along our country’s sea borders, particularly in recent months with the intensification of the crises in Syria and Iraq.”
He noted that the influx was putting “extreme pressure” on the country’s infrastructure, adding that Athens had asked the European Commission for additional funding to enable it “to meet new needs as regards managing migration flows.”
Malmstrom is to meet Tuesday with Samaras and incoming Attica Governor Rena Dourou, among others.
On a visit in January, Malmstrom said the EU would continue to help Greece handle immigration flows by trying to set up a “functional” asylum system while also helping to manage the country’s borders with the support of Frontex.