The Greek government decided on Wednesday to reinstate the Ministry of Migration, against the backdrop of a sharp increase in the number of arrivals of asylum seekers.
"In order to speed up the implementation of the government plan" on the migration issue, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has decided to create the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said in a brief statement.
After the ministry was abolished six months ago, its re-establishment aims to help the authorities house and relocate the rapidly increasing number of asylum seekers.
The government has appointed Notis Mitarakis as the new minister in charge of migration. He was previously Secretary of State to the Ministry of Employment, responsible for social security, added this text.
Originally from Chios, one of five islands in the Aegean Sea where registration and reception camps for migrants from neighboring Turkey are located, Notis Mitarakis must now manage the problems of overcrowding and squalid conditions of the camps.
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Created for the first time during the great migratory wave of 2015 by the previous left government of Alexis Tsipras, the Ministry of Migration Policy, thus called at the time, had been abolished last July during the election of the Conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The new government then decided to integrate the migration portfolio into the Ministry of Citizen Protection, provoking criticism from opposition parties and numerous NGOs defending the rights of refugees.
Protest against the creation of new camps
In the fall, as Greece once again became the main gateway for migrants to Europe in 2019, the government appointed a retired general to manage the situation of the camps on the islands, where more than 40,000 currently live. people for a total capacity of 6300 places. A reform announced in November on the creation of new camps on the islands has not advanced so far.
The government has announced the transfer of 20,000 people from the islands to mainland Greece. But due to the lack of places also on the continent, the number of transfers is still much lower than that initially announced.
Local authorities and islanders have repeatedly protested the creation of new camps demanding camps with a capacity limited to 1,000 people. Strikes and demonstrations are again scheduled for next week on the islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos, where the largest migrant camps are located.