Germany to take in 1,500 refugees from Greek islands
Germany said on Tuesday that it will take in more than 1,500 refugees from Greece on top of the 150 unaccompanied minors whose camp burned down on the island of Lesbos as Berlin tried to rally a fresh EU response to a years-long migrant crisis that flared anew.
EU countries have been forced to tackle the issue as thousands of former occupants of Moria camp on Lesbos have been sleeping rough in abandoned buildings, on roadsides and rooftops, after their shelters were destroyed by the blaze on the night of 8 September.
German Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Chancellor Angela Merkel's left-right coalition had agreed to take in 1,553 refugees from Greece, on top of the 150 unaccompanied minors from the burned out camp.
Germany will now also welcome families with children who have already secured refugee status in Greece but may not be from Moria.
France has agreed to take in 150 minors from the camp while other EU nations are admitting a total of 100 other youngsters from Moria.
Merkel bemoaned the lack of a concerted European response on Tuesday in comments attributed to her. "This is not a sign of Europe's values and capacity for action," she told a meeting of her parliamentary group in Berlin, according to participants.
Meanwhile Greek officials said six suspects, including "young foreign nationals", have been arrested in Lesbos in connection with the fire. Greek officials have said several times that the fire was started by migrants who faced isolation after testing positive for coronavirus.
Another fire broke out late on Tuesday near a camp on the island of Samos where over 4,700 migrants live. (AFP)