Greece took a much-delayed step on Friday for the release of European Union funds designed to help the country deal with a record number of migrant and refugee arrivals.
The Government Gazette on Friday published a decision – signed by former finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos and alternate minister for immigration policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou – establishing an agency to manage EU asylum, reception and integration programs.
Launching the agency has been a condition for the release of 470 million euros over a five-year period until 2020. The bureau, which will be headquartered on Vouliagmenis Avenue, south of central Athens, is expected to be fully operational by September 15.
Meanwhile, the growing number of immigrants and refugees gathering around Victoria Square in the city center following their arrival in the Greek capital, is generating complaints from locals and business owners.
“They are just sunbathing,” Georgia, a 62-year-old resident, told Kathimerini taking a jab at Christodoulopoulou’s infamous remark. “It’s been like that for months. Instead of improving, the situation is getting worse by the day,” she said of the crowd who appeared to have been drawn by the large number of benches, shade and free wi-fi.