Ministry seeks state funds for migrant centres
Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis has sought 132.68 million euros from the state budget to press forward with the construction of new reception centers for migrants on the islands of Kos, Leros and Samos as a request for European Union funding for the projects has yet to be approved.
According to a document sent to the Development Ministry on June 19, the Migration Ministry wants the construction projects included in the budget for public investments. The document notes that the ministry’s application for funding from the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund has not been approved.
The ministry cited a “migration crisis” and “increased migration flows” even though arrivals to the Aegean islands from Turkey have dropped significantly in the past four months. Mitarakis himself referred to “zero arrivals” on Lesvos in a press release on June 9, noting that the influx was down 90 percent compared to the same period last year.
A week before it applied for state funding for the centers, on June 12, the Migration Ministry had requested another 19 million euros for the creation of a security system for migrants living in state facilities involving electronic cards monitoring the entrance and exit of residents.
Although the funds for that project too have yet to be approved, the Migration Ministry has announced that the system will begin operating from October and will apply to 27,000 migrants at various facilities. The electronic cards are to be issued by the “governors,” who were appointed last month to oversee facilities on the mainland.
The government’s plan to move asylum seekers from overcrowded camps on the Aegean islands to less cramped facilities on the mainland has stalled amid opposition by local communities.
Meanwhile another initiative aimed at moving some 11,000 refugees out of state facilities has resulted in people camping in city squares as they have nowhere else to go.