LESBOS — A total of 116 recognised refugees, among them 30 families with children from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq departed on Wednesday on a charter flight from the airport of Mytilene to Hannover, Germany.
It is the first direct flight from an Aegean island to an EU member-state in the context of the relocation programme carried out by the Migration and Asylum Ministry in collaboration with the International Migration Organisation with EU funds.
This flight was the result of the excellent cooperation between German agencies, among them the Embassy of Germany, with the Greek migration ministry as well as other Greek agencies.
According to an announcement by the German Embassy in Athens, the number of migrants and refugees that Germany has taken from Greece since April 2020 for humanitarian reasons reached 1,677. "The German government had decided in March 2020 to host 243 sick children and their immediate relatives from Greece in the context of a European support operation. The reception of this group has been almost concluded. Apart from the 243 sick children and their families, Germany will also host 150 unaccompanied children".
Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi was at Mytilene airport for the departure and made the following statement: "Addressing the migrant crisis concerns the EU as a whole. The decongestion of the islands is a priority for the government and will be completed in the next few months. Today is a very important day because 116 migrants and refugees will relocate to Germany, directly from Lesvos. It is a joint initiative by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Our country will continue to implement a strict but fair migration policy, granting asylum to those that deserve it, but Greece will not become a gateway to the European Union for human traffickers."