EU’s Refugee Policy in the Crossfire: After Moria Fire, Greek Police Move Refugees to New Lesbos Camp

Written by | Monday, September 21st, 2020
@Eubulletin

Police on the Greek island of Lesbos launched an operation on Thursday (17 September) to rehouse thousands of migrants and refugees who have been sleeping rough after their camp – and Europe’s largest facility for asylum seekers – at Moria was destroyed by fire last week. Officers woke people in their tents to move them to a temporary centre but some were reluctant to enter the new site, fearing poor conditions and worried their movement may be further limited. The new Kara Tepe camp, near the island’s main town Mytilene, was made on a former military firing range and is close to the remains of the Moria site.
The situation on the Greek island of Lesbos has been tense, as migrants and refugees remain stranded. Athens is trying to calm the situation, but things have long since spun out of control. “I don’t want to go into the new camp. I want to leave Lesbos,” says Reza, a young man from Afghanistan who speaks good English. Since last Saturday, the Greek government, together with the UN refugee agency UNHCR, had been setting up a temporary camp on a former military training ground. Some 500 of the people made homeless by the recent fires in the Moria migrant camp have already moved in. But some, like Reza, are hoping of finally leaving Lesbos.
Meanwhile, as the Brussels mulls camps and on-site processing on the Greek islands, Germany is once again taking the lead and pledges to take in more migrants, though a pan-European solution remains elusive. As a matter of fact, Germany’s political leaders are now outdoing each other with calls to take in more people than the 1,553 agreed to this week. Also many aid organizations, church representatives and local and state authorities have joined a chorus of people insisting that Germany should offer shelter to more people left stranded by the burnt refugee camp at Moria. Still, some are strongly opposed to Germany going it alone, including German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer of the Christian Social Union (CSU) and this is for two reasons: Firstly, migrants should not think that they can get around established procedures for the granting of asylum and, secondly, Seehofer wants to push for a EU-wide policy to deal with migration.

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