(Greece) – According to Greek officials, there are around 41,000 refugees and migrants who are seeking asylum in Greece. Most of them appear to have come from Syria and are eligible to be relocated elsewhere in the European Union once their asylum applications are being processed. Greece also warns that once the asylum applications are being processed, the rest of the EU needs to do its part to relocate the refugees and migrants. Around 2000 of the refugees who are waiting for their applications to be processed have agreed to go home to their countries, instead. Most of the refugees come from countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. Most have left their countries to start new lives with their families.
Yiannis Mazoulas, the Greek Minister for Migration Policy, spoke during a press conference about this issue. He said that there are about 7000 refugees whose applications have been processed who are now waiting for the EU to relocate them. He said that, “At the moment we have 7,000 people ready to be relocated but we have yet to receive an response from the member-states.” Governments from within the EU have said that they will commit to relocated 160,000 refugees and migrants by September of 2017 after the asylum applications are processed. So far, only around 4000 have been relocated.
Mazoulas also addressed rumors that many refugees are leaving Greece illegally through the northern border of Greece saying that they were not true. However, he did admit that around 4000-6000 refugees in the country are on the move and are avoiding filling out their asylum applications out of fear that they will be stuck in Greece for a lot longer than they want to be. There are currently around 57,000 total migrants living in Greece in makeshift or state run camps. The majority are waiting for their asylum applications to be processed and still others have had their applications processed and are waiting to be relocated.