New migrant center to open near Thiva as Cretan authorities protest plans for four local camps

17 August 2016
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The government is planning to host around 1,000 migrants in a former cotton mill near the city of Thiva in central Greece, it emerged Tuesday, as authorities on Crete expressed objections to plans to accommodate another 2,000 migrants in four migrant centers on the island.

According to the government’s plans, most of the migrants currently living on the site of Athens’s old international airport at Elliniko will be moved to the Thiva facility. Authorities in Thiva have yet to raise objections to the plans. On Crete, meanwhile, there were tensions Tuesday at a meeting of local officials.

Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas has said that the island’s four prefectures must put up a total of 2,000 migrants, most of whom are currently living in overcrowded centers on the Aegean islands.

At the meeting, convened by the mayor of Hania, Tasos Vamvoukas, many officials expressed concerns about the likely negative repercussions of the government’s initiative on the island’s tourism sector.

“Knowing what has happened on other islands and the disastrous tourism season they are currently experiencing, there is no reason for us to have the same problem,” the head of the association representing hoteliers in the Chania prefecture, Manolis Giannoulis, told the gathering. Vamvoukas, for his part, struck a milder tone, underlining the need for leadership and responsible decisions.

After a week that saw increased arrivals from Turkey, the influx has eased slightly. A total of 78 migrants landed on the Aegean islands Tuesday and 57 the day before.

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