Greece may seek EU help to meet migration pledges


Pressure on Greece’s immigration officials has intensified in the wake of a refugee crisis summit at which Athens agreed to increase the country’s reception capacity for migrants to 50,000 by the end of the year.

Sources told Kathimerini that authorities were mulling a request that the European Union’s civil protection mechanism be activated to help Greece meet the targets.

The mechanism coordinates the bloc’s humanitarian aid efforts, channeling financial support and sending specially equipped teams to disaster areas.

“We had been prepared for 2,500 places – not for 20,000 in two months and another 20,000 via the rent-assistance program,” a source who wished to remain anonymous told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Galatsi in northern Athens, which has been hosting some 1,500 people at its Olympic Sports Hall, warned Tuesday that patience with the situation was running thin.

“The understanding was… that the gym would operate as a reception center until the end of October,” said Giorgos Markopoulos, adding that the municipality has been providing food for 500 people in addition to the 1,000 catered for by the state.

“The municipality has reached its limits,” the mayor said.

Sources said authorities were examining alternative venues that could host the migrants, including the Athens Olympic Velodrome in Maroussi.

Also Tuesday, Israel backed relief efforts by donating 1.5 tons of medicine to Greece. The medicine will be distributed in Athens as well as on the eastern Aegean islands.