Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas visited Chios Island on 17 October to attend the Municipal Council meeting organized by the Municipality of Chios, on the refugee-migrant issue.
Dimitris Vitsas briefed the City Council on the priorities of the Ministry for Migration Policy, stressing that focus has been put on the decongestion programme of the five islands in which Reception and Identification Centres operate (Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros).
The Minister recognised the difficult conditions due to increased refugee-migrant inflows at Chios VIAL Reception and Identification Centre, and noted however that people have already been transferred to mainland Greece, and even more will be transferred in the immediate future.
He also said that the Ministry attaches great importance to working closely with local authorities and local stakeholders in a way that ensures the greatest possible consensus for the harmonious coexistence of residents and refugees-migrants. He also reiterated the government’s commitment to maintain reduced VAT on islands burdened by the refugee-migrant inflows.
Mr. Vitsas also highlighted the efforts made to speed up the procedures for examining asylum applications, stressing that eight new appeal committees are being set up, exclusively serving these five islands.
Earlier in the morning, the Minister for Migration Policy visited the Chios VIAL Reception and Identification Centre, accompanied by the Reception Secretary General, Andreas Gougoulis.