Germany plans to take in 1,500 more refugees from Lesbos

Germany plans to take in 1,500 more refugees from Lesbos
A refugee family arrives in Lowery Saxony in 2016. Photo: DPA
The Germany interior ministry has proposed taking in 1,500 parents and children from the Greek island of Lesbos in addition to the 150 unaccompanied minors it already wants to accept.

The agreement between Angela Merkel of the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer of Bavarian sister party CSU was made public on Tuesday morning.

It still has to be agreed upon by coalition partner, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).

The families that are to be taken in have already been recognized as refugees in Greece, DPA learned from interior ministers. The proposal has already reportedly been discussed with the Greek government.

READ ALSO: Germany mulls taking in more migrants after Moria fire

Whether the SPD will agree to it was initially still open. SPD leader Saskia Esken has demanded that Germany accept several thousand refugees from Greece in addition to the offer already made on taking in unaccompanied minors. 

The Greek government says that the Moria refugee camp, which has been hopelessly overcrowded for years, was set on fire by migrants last week. The situation escalated after several asylum seekers tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Seehofer announced on Friday that Germany would take in 100 to 150 of the 400 unaccompanied minors who are to be brought from Greece to other European countries. He also stated that Germany enter talks with Athens over the admission of families with children. 

The Interior Ministry now wants to send a delegation to Lesbos to see who needs protection most urgently. The goal is to apply “objective criteria” in the selection process “so that no uncontrollable consequences arise”.

Aside from in the case of the 400 unaccompanied minors, Greek authorities have not officially requested that other EU countries take in asylum seekers left homeless by the Moria fire.

They have instead begun to build a new camp on Lesbos, where the migrants will be accommodated. 

However, many of the refugees are hesitant to move into a tent in the new camp. Some are afraid of being locked up there, others hope to be resettled on the Greek mainland or in another European country.

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