With Greece struggling to manage 54,000 refugees and migrants stuck in the country, a German agency said it will pay for a reception center at Thermi, near Thessaloniki.
Representatives of a large German Non-governmental agency visited Thessaloniki for talks with local officials about creating the center, which would hold up to 1,500 refugees, Kathimerini reported. The NGO is said to be offering five million euros ($5.71 million) for use by local authorities.
That comes as some 11,000 refugees and migrants are camped out at Idomeni, near the closed FYROM border, still hoping to get across to reach other more prosperous European Union countries.
Greece’s Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said the government will urge them to leave but not force them out even though they are blocking rail traffic and have cost Greek businesses more than four million euros ($4.57 million) so far.
“Idomeni must be dismantled and will be dismantled,” he said, adding that migrants whose residence permits have expired will get them automatically renewed by authorities when they are relocated to state-run reception centers.
There are also around 5,000 more in a state-run facility in Elliniko, the site of the old Athens airport, several thousand at the port of Piraeus and thousands more scattered around other camps.