Refugees play football in the Moria refuge camp, on the island of Lesbos in Greece | Photo: EPA/PETER KLAUNZER
Refugees play football in the Moria refuge camp, on the island of Lesbos in Greece | Photo: EPA/PETER KLAUNZER

The Greek government has expressed concern over an increase in migrant landings on the Aegean islands over the past few weeks. The minister responsible for migration wants the incoming European Commission to ensure "a fairer sharing of the burden."

Giorgos Koumoutsako spoke to newspaper Kathimerini about the situation. As alternate minister for citizens' protection, Koumoutsakos is responsible for dealing with migration in Greece. 

In the interview, Koumoutsakos said that since July 7, "there has not been a single day without arrivals." On July 7, national elections in Greece led to the victory of the conservative Nea Dimokratia party and the formation of a new government. 

Over 20,000 migrants and refugees on Aegean islands

"Today on the five Aegean islands, that is Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos and Leros, the total number of refugees and migrants has exceeded 20,000. This constitutes an increase of 17 percent in a few weeks," the minister said. 

Koumoutsakos said that over the last few months, a new "corridor" for migrants has also been created between the Greek island of Samothraki and Alexandroupoli in the north, near the Turkish border. 

Athens expects cooperation from the European Commission, minister says 

The minister said that Greece "has exhausted its capacity" and is now "looking forward to efficient cooperation with the European Commission and the member-states." 

Koumoutsakos pointed out that the new president of the European Commission, Ursula Van Leyen, spoke about a "new pact on immigration" during a visit to Rome. "I hope that this will contribute to soon reaching an agreement on the Common European Asylum System, including the Dublin 4 regulation, on the basis of genuine and concrete solidarity," he told Kathimerini. He said that he hoped that the EU could achieve a fairer sharing of the burden and a more effective return policy toward third countries. 
 

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