Refugee crisis topping premier’s list of concerns

Refugee crisis topping premier’s list of concerns

Topping the list of concerns of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in recent days and weeks, according to sources close to the premier, is the refugee crisis as arrivals from neighboring Turkey have increased and countries such as Germany are calling for the return of migrants to Greece.

The number of migrants arriving on islands of the eastern Aegean from neighboring Turkey have increased to around 100 per day, aggravating the concerns of government officials who had indicated that the situation was under control.

Around 3,000 people have arrived in Greece over the past month alone, putting additional strain on reception centers on the islands that are already overcrowded.

A government plan to decongest those centers foresees the transfer of thousands of refugees and migrants to the mainland but work is still under way to prepare new facilities so the problem has yet to be addressed.

A joint declaration signed on Friday by Tsipras and dignitaries from another six countries including France, Italy and Spain, called for a more comprehensive European approach to tackling the refugee crisis, the acceleration of an EU relocation program for migrants and the review of the Dublin Regulation, which dictates that migrants apply for asylum in the first EU country of entry, a rule that has put undue pressure on front-line countries Greece and Italy.

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