Representatives from the German Interior Ministry will begin talks with Greek officials Tuesday in Athens about Berlin’s proposal to send 3,300 refugees back to Greece.
The migrants in question had originally been registered in Greece through the Eurodac fingerprint database, but thereafter still managed to travel north to Germany.
Officials from both countries will also discuss how they plan to reunite some 3,500 families currently in Greece with their separated relatives in Germany.
Since the refugee crisis reached its peak in 2015, many Greek islands such as Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros have become hotspots where a constant flow of people continue to overcrowd reception centers.
In light of the dialogue between Athens and Berlin, Greek Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas sent a letter to the mayors of the previously mentioned islands, trying to reassure them that asylum seekers in Germany will not be brought back to their already congested accommodation facilities.
The minister also dismissed rumors that the government had struck a deal with Germany to suspend planned value-added tax hikes on the islands in exchange for migrant returns.
“Scenarios that refer to the creation of new hotspots on islands in exchange for low VAT are simply lies,” Vitsas said in the letter. “The situation will remain as is: One hotspot on Lesvos, one on Chios, one on Samos, one on Kos and and one on Leros.”
As of Monday, the total number of migrants and refugees on the islands has raised to 17,924 — 1,519 of those arrivals taking place since June 22.
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