Greek Gov't Demands EU Aid to Tackle Migrant Influx

Southeast Europe | August 8, 2015, Saturday // 14:31|  views

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) talks with Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou (L) during their meeting at the Alternate Minister for Migration Policy office in Athens, Greece, August 08, 2015. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has admitted Greece cannot handle the flow of asylum seekers reaching its islands every day.

After an extraordinary cabinet meeting, he has demanded that the EU provide assistance as the existing infrastructure to address the crisis is "insufficient".

"We have a serious problem and that is why we asked Europe for help," Kathimerini quoted him assaying.

Earlier on Friday the United Nations' refugee agency, the UNCHR, called on Greece to cope with the "chaos" on its islands.

UN data suggests as many as 43 500 migrants entered Greece in 2014.

This year, however, the number seems to have more than doubled in the first seven months alone. More than 107 000 are estimated to have reached the country since 2015 began.

UNCHR's European Director, Vincent Cochetel, warned measures should be taken in order not to turn Greek islands into "a second Calais".

He warned against any attempts at using the situation for political purposes, noting that, while EU partners must help ease the burden, it is Greece that should "lead and coordinate".

In the words of Tsipras, it is now time for Europe to show it is a union of "solidarity".

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Tags: Alexis Tsipras, Tsipras, Vincent Cochetel, UNCHR, migrants, refugees, EU, asylum seekers, greece


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