Government to bring new bill in April speeding up asylum


The government will submit at the end of April a draft bill to accelerate and simplify the asylum procedure, Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas said on Friday, as a spike in refugee arrivals in the islands of the eastern Aegean this week deteriorated overcrowding in the so-called hotspots.

“We are bringing a new bill in parliament that will simplify, accelerate and organize the asylum procedure. This law will be voted by the end of April,” he told parliament, responding to a relevant question by New Democracy MP Miltiades Varvitsiotis.

Vitsas also revealed that Greek authorities recorded a 33 percent increase in refugee flows from Turkey in the first quarter of 2018.

Varvitsiotis accused the government of having abandoned the islands accepting the bulk of refugees that arrive in Greece to their fate.

“Already in Moria, about 6,000 people are living in a reception center which cannot accommodate more than 3,000 people. You have to understand how badly you have handled for a very long time […] an issue for which we are expecting Europe's support, funding and to put pressure on Turkey,” he said.