Weekly migrant returns announced

Weekly migrant returns announced

Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis has announced plans to introduce “weekly return routes” of migrants whose asylum applications have been rejected.

In an interview with Kathimerini, he said that the speeding up of asylum procedures in conjunction with the weekly returns, will help decongest overcrowded islands.

“It is a political decision by the government not to allow any migrants to stay permanently on the islands," Mitarakis said.

He added however that the creation of new closed facilities on the islands will help implement the policy of decongestion.

At the same time, an amendment is expected next week to create a registry of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that deal with migration. Mitarakis also said that new directors will be appointed at the migrant centers.

Meanwhile, regarding the future migration and asylum pact that the European Commission is expected to table in the coming months, Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Giorgos Koumoutsakos outlined Greece's position in a letter to the European Commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson.

“Our position rests on three fundamental principles: 1) a European solution to a European challenge; 2) a fair system that will stand the test of time; and 3) the preservation of the EU’s core values as enshrined in the EU Treaty,” he said.

He also noted that a system in which some member-states will be exempt from, or a system that will be imposed on some member-states against their will “cannot succeed.”

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