Greece is predicted to descend into rioting and chaos next week when the new agreement
between the European Union and Turkey — to allow Greece to send back migrants that either do not apply for asylum or fail in their claims — comes into effect.
The Greek government’s migration spokesman, Giorgos Kyritsis, told the Observer newspaper (emphasis ours):
We are expecting violence. People in despair tend to be violent.
The whole philosophy of the deal is to deter human trafficking [into Europe] from the Turkish coast, but it is going to be difficult and we are trying to use a soft approach. These are people have fled war.
They are not criminals.
European Union members are all trying to thrash out the best way to accommodate the one million migrants arriving in the 28 nation bloc per year, some countries like Greece are struggling to cope with the influx due to its own battered economy.
On April 4, Greece will be allowed to sent back Syrian refugees to Turkey, it they entered the country illegally from Turkey. The deal also means that for every Syrian migrant arriving in Greece, one will be sent back to Turkey while one Syrian in Turkey will be resettled in the EU.
In order to enforce the deal, the EU are sending 2,300 officials to help enforce the new agreement. That includes security officials and translators.
However, Greek officials warned that the move is likely to enflame tension amongst the Greek community and the refugees. Already, 800 people broke out of a detention centre on Chios on Friday, pointed out the Observer which spoke to Greece’s migration official.
The report added that 750 immigrants are set to be sent back between Monday and Wednesday from the island of Lesbos to the Turkish port of Dikili due to new rules.
AFP, citing the Athens News Agency, said more than “5,600 migrants have been registered on Greek islands since March 20, the date on which the agreement takes effect.” It added that 250 people would be returned each day through Wednesday.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) confirmed on December 30, 2015 that more than one million refugees and migrants reached the continent by sea since the start of 2015.
This is versus 219,000 in 2014.
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