Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminins (photo) on Monday expressed concern over the fate of hundreds of migrants being released from pre-deportation detention centers and transported to the Greek capital, in a meeting with Alternate Minister for Citizens’ Protection Yiannis Panousis.
Kaminis briefed the minister on the municipal authority’s capacity for dealing with the influx of the migrants, many of whom have lost their ties to their respective communities and employment during their detention.
“It’s true that we have registered a number of buildings that could be used [to house the released migrants], but the fact is that we need funds which simply don’t exist,” Kaminis told Panousis.
“We are already having trouble feeding people,” the mayor added.
Panousis, who is also said to have expressed concern over the implementation of the new government’s policy to close down detention centers and speed up deportation and asylum procedures, said that a delegation led by the Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou is expected to travel to Brussels on Thursday in a bid to secure funding for Greece’s new immigration program.
Another issue on the agenda of the meeting between the two officials was the reinstatement of the municipal police force, which was disbanded in the summer of 2013 as part of cost-cutting measures.
Kaminis stressed the role of municipal police in protecting the day-to-day operation of the city by enforcing parking, outdoor seating and noise pollution regulations, among others.
While Panousis noted that the municipal police comes under the jurisdiction of the Alternate Ministry of Administrative Reform, he assured Kaminis that his office is putting together a “series of initiatives aimed at boosting Athenians’ sense of security and improving the quality of their daily lives.”
Panousis did not specify what these initiatives might entail.