The government in Athens announced the introduction of new measures in migration policy in connection with the influx of hundreds of illegal migrants from Turkey to Greece. The Government Council on Foreign Affairs and Defense decided to expand border control.

According to Greek media reports, the new conservative government under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants to free the Greek islands of the East Aegean. More than 500 new migrants arrived in Lesbos alone on Thursday, the highest figure since the 2016 EU-Turkey Refugees pact came into force. The refugee camp in Lesbos is crowded. It is designed for 3,000 refugees, but currently more than 10,000 people live there.

Observation of the Greek border will be carried out in cooperation with Frontex, European authorities and NATO. In the future, the period of possible stay of migrants without the right to asylum will be reduced. The pact with Turkey provides that “refugees” who are not granted asylum rights in the EU will be sent back to Turkey. However, only about 2,400 Syrians have been forcibly returned from Greece to Turkey according to reports dated March 2019.

In addition, the Greek Government also wants to simplify the asylum procedure by excluding the second stage of the appeal in case of rejection of the asylum application.