Samos municipal council opposes plans for closed pre-departure center

Samos municipal council opposes plans for closed pre-departure center

The East Samos municipal council has voted to oppose government plans to create a closed pre-departure center on the eastern Aegean island which is on the front line of the refugee and migration crisis and home to an overcrowded camp near the port of Vathy.

The government plans to close the Vathy reception and processing center, which currently hosts some 6.800 refugees and migrants, and create a pre-deportation center with a capacity of 7,000.

After a meeting late Tuesday, the council called for the immediate transfer of more migrants to the mainland in order to decongest the island facility, the creation of a small closed facility further away from the settlement and for more police support.

The Greek government is seeking to manage a recent surge in migrant flows through a mix of measures, including tighter border controls and speeding up asylum procedures and returns.

Earlier this month, the government announced plans to set up five closed pre-departure centers for migrants on the islands of Samos, Chios, Lesvos, Kos and Leros, making it easier to control the movements of asylum seekers and prevent them from slipping across to the mainland undetected.

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