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EU Commission ‘Satisfied’ with Hotspot Progress on Greek Isles

Photo source: euractiv.com

Photo source: euractiv.com

The European Commission said on Wednesday, that Greece had made progress on the construction of the so-called hotspots or refugee reception centers, four of which opened this week on Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Leros.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas added that Commission members who visited the new screening centres on the islands of Leros, Lesvos and Chios with Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos on Tuesday, said that “significant progress” had been made.

“The game-playing against Greece has ended. As of now, Turkey must demonstrate that it will respect the agreement signed and that it will provide shelter to the refugees and migrants that set off from the coast of Asia Minor,” Mr Kammenos said.

A group of refugees disembark an inflatable boat after reaching the Greek island of Lesvos. Photo © UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis

Photo © UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis

Serving as a first stop to Europe, Greece has borne the brunt of fleeing refugees from Syria through Turkey, seeing thousands of migrants go through its borders this year.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to discuss the issue of refugee reception centers with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels later today.

According to reports, Mr Juncker is expected to call for further measures to boost the relocation processes of incoming refugees at Thursday’s EU leaders summit. Τhe situation will be further addressed at a working dinner on the migration crisis on Thursday evening in Brussels.

In the meantime, Mr Kammenos confirmed that works were currently under way at the fifth center on the Dodecanese island of Kos, despite the strong resistance by residents and municipal authorities. Riot police stepped in last Sunday, when residents tried to stop construction work at Pyli, the site of the hotspot.

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