NEWS

Minister chides mayors calling for migration action

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As the Union of Greek Municipalities (KEDE) on Wednesday called on the government to take action to deal with an unprecedented wave of mass migration through Greece, Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou accused municipal and regional authorities of not doing their share.

KEDE chief Giorgos Patoulis accused the government of failing to present a comprehensive plan for managing the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants, mainly from the Middle East, warning that delays in implementing European Union measures may lead to hefty fines.

“There is no magic wand that will create the infrastructure or make the migrants disappear,” Christodoulopoulou told a meeting of KEDE and other state officials on Wednesday.

She added that with the exception of the municipalities of Athens and Lesvos – one of the islands where large numbers of arrivals are landing – no other regional or municipal authorities have offered facilities for processing and housing arrivals.

The outgoing minister defended the government’s lack of progress, saying that she is expecting 30 million euros in EU funding to be released next week which will go toward building reception centers on the islands of Kos, Leros and Lesvos.

Her comment came after an earlier statement by European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud, who said that the Commission is waiting for Greece to establish an agency to manage the funds.