Official data on the numbers of new arrivals of refugees and migrants on the islands of the Northern Aegean in Greece was made public on Friday, November 1. A staggering 6,868 new migrant arrivals were recorded in the region of the Northern Aegean Sea alone between October 1 and October 31, 2019, Greek Reporter writes in the article EU Court Slams Eastern States While Migrant Crisis in Greece and Italy Escalates.
According to the new data, 3,474 migrants arrived on the island of Lesvos, 1,820 on Chios and 1,556 on Samos. Meanwhile, on Thursday night alone, eight boats carrying 323 foreign nationals arrived on Lesvos, with the island’s Moria camp now accommodating more than 15,000 people, more than five times its recommended capacity. The migrant camp has a capacity of 3,000, a number exceeded many months ago, and those who are housed there are now living in exceptionally poor conditions. At the same time, a total of 815 asylum seekers are slated to leave from Lesvos on Friday on two Greek Navy warships while another 58 individuals will leave from Moria on Sunday evening for the port of Piraeus in Attica. All the migrants and refugees will be sent to housing facilities around the country’s mainland, where local communities have already begun to protest the prospect of thousands of people being sent to their towns and cities.
As Greece, together with Italy and other southern EU member states, continue to share the burden of this massive wave of migration alone, a top legal advisor of the European Court of Justice said on Thursday that several Eastern European member states have violated EU law by not receiving their share of refugees and migrants. A statement issued by the court states ”By refusing to comply with the provisional and time-limited mechanism for the mandatory relocation of applicants for international protection, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have failed to fulfill their obligations under EU law.”
The ”Visegrad” group of EU member states, comprised of Central and Eastern EU member states, most of which currently have right-wing national governments, have repeatedly denied refugees and migrants coming from Greece and Italy to set foot on their soil.
The administrations of Poland and Hungary say that their primary duty is to protect their citizens, and therefore they will not allow any mandatory migrant relocation scheme by the EU to take place, despite breaking EU laws and facing potential economic sanctions in the near future.
Meanwhile, the Greek government has already asked Brussels to take action against those member states which are blocking the relocation scheme, which in effect has brought Greece, Italy and other southern EU nations to their limits in dealing with the migrant issue.