Only days after requesting European Union help in tackling the ongoing migrant and refugee crisis, the Greek government has unveiled plans to set up five so-called hotspots to register and identify arrivals.
The decision, which was published early Saturday in the Government Gazette, foresees the creation of screening centers on the eastern Aegean islands of Chios, Kos, Leros, Samos and Lesvos. Their operation will fall under the responsibility of the Southern and Northern Aegean regional authorities and will rely on Defense Ministry technical infrastructure and personnel.
The decision designates the areas which will host the registration centers on Lesvos, Leros and Kos. Details on the Samos and Chios facilities are to be announced in the coming days.
Local authorities reacted to the news, saying they had been caught unawares by the government’s decision.
In a statement on Saturday, New Democracy’s local organization on Kos said it opposed the creation of a hotspot on the island, describing it as a “catastrophic move for Greece’s fourth biggest tourism destination.”
More than 600,000 migrants have flooded into Greece this year, many fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq.