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Refugee Crisis Management to Put Greece in Eye of EU Storm

Refugees arrive on the Greek island of Lesvos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey.

Photo © UNHCR / I.Prickett

In last-ditch efforts to demonstrate its willingness to deal with the influx of refugees coming into Europe via Greek shores, the government distributed aerial photographs on Tuesday, of the new hotspots on islands in the North Aegean, Reuters reports.

Greece said last week that it would set up five new screening centers on Lesvos, Chios, Leros, Kos and Samos, in efforts to manage the registration procedure for an ever-growing number of refugees entering the country. The decision came days after reports of a possible Schengen zone suspension, which prompted the government to seek EU assistance and border controls. The hotspots are expected to be operational this month, providing in the meantime temporary shelter to some 7,500 people.

Tuesday’s move come in light of the upcoming EU leaders’ summit on Thursday, where it is expected that Greece will come under significant pressure over its response to the refugee crisis.

Greek daily Kathimerini reports that EU heads will call for more effective monitoring of the Union’s outer borders and the smooth operation of the refugee registration-relocation centers.

The draft conclusions will also request a series of actions be taken by EU member-states in order to deal with the issue ahead of the February 18-19 European Council.

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