The German and Greek governments signed a deal Wednesday for Greece to process 1,500 of its counterpart’s asylum applications, according to the Greek minister of migration.
Minister Dimitris Vitsas said during an Athens press conference that Germany sent Greece 1,500 requests for processing asylum applications in the first half 2018, adding that “they will be accepted.”
The minister’s announcement came following a recent European Union migration summit focusing on controlling arrivals to Germany and Austria, ultimately leading Berlin and Athens to reach their aforementioned agreement on asylum requests.
In general, some asylum seekers will likely be returned to the EU country where they initially arrived — often a Mediterranean nation such as Greece or Spain.
Vitsas said the new deal aims to “find a uniquely European solution to regulate the migrant influx and limit unilateral actions.”
He also said the deal includes Berlin taking in 2,900 migrants from Greece separated from their families and reuniting them with relatives in Germany.
Arrivals to Greece from Turkey have dropped by 96 percent since the migration crisis peaked in summer 2015, but the country is still struggling to account for approximately 60,000 refugees already on its land.
Vitsas said Greece faces problems with housing and integration for migrants, particularly just a boat ride across from Turkey in the Dodecanese islands, where refugee camps are routinely overcrowded and lack sufficient resources to tend to inhabitants.
According to estimates from the UN Refugee Agency, more than 50,000 migrants and asylum seekers have reached Europe by boat in 2018, with 1,400 of them dying in the process.
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