Picture shows migransts entering into a ferry in the port of Mytilene, Lesvos island, Greece, to be deported in Turkey.Archive. Photo/EPA
Picture shows migransts entering into a ferry in the port of Mytilene, Lesvos island, Greece, to be deported in Turkey.Archive. Photo/EPA

The agreement between the EU and Turkey over migrants has stemmed the flow of refugees into the Greece by 97 per cent, the EU's Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said in a press meet this week.

The European Union's Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said in a media conference that the numbers have been significantly reduced and that the agreement, made in March 2016, is "working well and delivering results."


The influx of people by boats from Turkey to Greece had reduced and over 8,800 Syrians in Turkey had now found new homes in Europe, he added.

The EU executive also said that there was still a huge amount of work to do with a significant asylum application backlog in Greece, which, once dealt with, would reduce the number of migrants stranded in Greek camps.

Despite his optimistic message, however, Avramopoulos declared his disappointment with several Eastern EU states - namely Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic - that are refusing to take in migrants from Greece and Italy. He praised the decision of the European Court to reject the demands of those eastern states for an exemption from the relocation program.

Asylum service workers strike

Meanwhile, employees of Greece's asylum service launched a two-day strike on Wednesday citing delayed salary payments.

According to local media reports, the trade union is claiming that many employees have not been paid for two or three months. As well as the strike, the union is also planning a protest march in central Athens on Thursday.

Greece's asylum service is overwhelmed with a massive workload due to the ongoing influx of refugees into the country, leading to a huge increase in applications over the past year.
 

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