ATHENS – With help from the European Union, Greek authorities are planning to build a new – and improved – refugee and migrant detention center on the island of Lesbos to replace the burned notorious Moria camp, temporarily replaced by a tent city holding almost 12,500 people.
The new center won't open until September, 2021, however, which means those being held will have to stay in their tents through the winter, where many have already complained of miserable conditions.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the agreement will ensure decent conditions for migrants and refugees arriving, while supporting communities on the Greek islands, said Kathimerini.
She also referred to “fast and fair procedures, so that the centers are what they should be – just a temporary stop before either returning or integrating,” as those being held who don't get asylum are required to be returned to Turkey, which hasn't happened, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are some 100,000 in Greece, including almost 34,000 on five Greek islands near Turkey, where they had gone fleeing war and strife in their homelands, especially Syria and Afghanistan, as well as economic hardships in other regions such as sub-Saharan Africa.
Turkey is supposed to contain them under an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union but has allowed human traffickers to keep sending them in violation of the agreement
Commission Vice-President Margaritis in charge of refugee affairs – Margaritis Schinas from Greece's ruling New Democracy, tweeted that the agreement shows “our commitment to sustainable solutions. Practical European solidarity with Greece,” although he has rarely been visible in dealing with the problem in his country.