Greece opens registration centres for refugees

Greece opens four refugee registration centres to prevent influx to Europe, before EU summit in Brussels

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A family reacts shortly after arriving with other migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on October 12, 2015

Greece will open four refugee registration centres this week, a government source told AFP on Monday.

The source said that hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Leros and Samos from Turkey on boats.

Repeated delays prevented the opening of the centres late last year, however by Wednesday, the four refugee centres will open on these islands.  

Each centre will be able to accommodate up to 1,000 refugees in prefab housing, who will spend three days being registered and being sorted between eligibility for the European Union or deported to their country of origin.

Refugees’ fingerprints will also be taken for security checks as a precaution to avoid possible attacks, such as the Paris attacks in November, which were carried out by two men who passed through Greece.

Local authorities and residents oppose the opening of a fifth centre on the island of Kos due to damages in the influx on its tourism industry, which set back the date of construction, a government source said.

Athens is under heavy pressure to restrain refugees from entering Europe. EU member states gave Greece a three-month ultimatum to keep refugees under control on Friday to save its place in the Schengen passport-free zone. The focal point of the pressure is the Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, who will attend the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Central European leaders are ready to help Balkan countries seal their borders with Greece to stop the flow of refugees across the continent, Czech Prime Minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, told Reuters on Sunday.

TRTWorld and agencies