From file:  Unaccompanied minors board a plane to travel from Athens to Germany, April 18, 2020 | Photo: REUTERS/Costas Baltas
From file:  Unaccompanied minors board a plane to travel from Athens to Germany, April 18, 2020 | Photo: REUTERS/Costas Baltas

France has announced it will take in some 750 asylum seekers, including 350 unaccompanied minors, from Greece. The first transfers are expected to take place in July.

The Greek migration minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos announced on Monday that 750 asylum seekers will be relocated to France. The decision is based on an agreement that Koumoutsakos reached with the French Minister of State for Interior, Laurent Nunez, in January, reports the online news site FR24. 

The group of 750 migrants will include 350 unaccompanied minors. The first group is expected to travel from Greece to France in July, the Greek migration ministry announced.

Relocation of 1,600 children

France is one of several countries in Europe that promised to take in unaccompanied children from overcrowded camps in Greece. The relocation of 1,600 children by at least seven EU member states was announced in mid-March, but the actual transfers were stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In mid-April, Luxembourg took in 12 children, and Germany accepted 50 minors while pledging to take in a total of 500 in the coming months. 23 children were flown to Switzerland in mid-May.

The UK has also relocated some 50 vulnerable migrants, including children, this month as part of family reunification measures.

According to the UN children's fund UNICEF, there are currently around 5,500 unaccompanied minors in Greece. UNHCR says that the vast majority of them are boys, mainly from Afghanistan.

France to increase Frontex presence in Greece

France and Greece had agreed on the resettlement of 400 asylum seekers in early January; the announcement to take in an additional 350 children was made on Monday.

The processing of asylum claims in Greece had come to a halt in March and resumed only last week. Migration minister Koumoutsakos and the French ambassador to Greece, Patrick Maisonnave, said that the processing will resume as soon as possible, France 24 reports.

The French ambassador also confirmed his country’s intention to increase its participation in the missions of the EU border forces Frontex in Greece, FR24 reports.

The two officials also said it was important to collaborate on flights on returning rejected asylum seekers to their countries of origin in Africa.

With FR24

 

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