Northern Aegean Regional Governor Kostas Moutzouris said he was “surprised” by the Greek government's sudden announcement on Monday that it is speeding up the creation of new, closed migrant centers on the islands.
Authorities said on Monday they would use emergency legal powers to proceed with the purchase of land on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos to built the detention centers.
Moutzouris said he believed the announcement was made to pre-empt reactions by the islanders ahead of a meeting on the issue at the Interior Ministry in Athens later this week.
The regional governor and the mayors of the five islands where the detention centers will be built are scheduled to meet with government officials on Thursday (Feb. 13) to discuss the plan.
Taxiarhis Verros, mayor of western Lesvos, the area on the border of which land will be requisitioned, said the decision was “unexpected.”
“Citizens have already made up their minds about it and it is naturally unacceptable,” he said in a statement, adding that he has proposed skipping Thursday's meeting with at the ministry as a protest.
He also signalled that more actions will be taken after a meeting of the island's municipal council.