With the European Union still dithering about what to do a week after a fire destroyed the Moria refugee and migrant detention camp on the island of Lesbos – leaving 12,500 peope homeless, Germany said it would take 1,500 from islands holding nearly 34,000 of them.
Only 800 of the residents of Moria had been resettled in tents with Bulgaria offering to take 70 refugee minors and a few other countries willing to take in a handful but most have refused to help after the bloc closed its borders to refugees and migrants.
The German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) said the decision to help was made by Chancellor Angela Merkel and that the priority would be on taking in families with children.
That came after Merkel called on more EU support for Greece after the destruction of the bloc's largest refugee and migrant center but she was ignored as Greek officials have been since the crisis began in 2015.
“Greece has shouldered a lot of responsibility,” she said in urging for more support with Greece being essentially left on its own to deal with the problem during a long-running economic and austerity crisis and now with COVID-19 hitting.
"We will make a substantive contribution,” she added, noting more migrants will be transferred to Germany.
Bild newspaper had reported that Germany was considering taking in thousands of refugees from Moria as a one-off goodwill gesture and hopes the camp can be rebuilt and run by the European Union.
European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, who is from Greece's ruling New Democracy, went to Lesbos and briefed European Council President Charles Michel on what he said but Greece so far has gotten only verbal support from them.