A sharp increase in the number of immigrants arriving on the Greek islands was recorded last week.
A total of 1,365 immigrants arrived on the shores of the eastern Aegean islands during the week of July 8-14, when their number the week prior had been 980; the corresponding number for the same week in 2018 was 551.
According to Greek daily newspaper Ethnos, Brussels is closely following the developments by trying to determine whether the increase is conjunctural, or if it is caused by the tensions between EU-Turkey relations after Ankara’s provocative actions in Cyprus’ EEZ and the reaction of Europeans.
“The Commission and the European leaders do not want to see the 2015 refugee crisis events be repeated, and that is their great concern over EU’s relations with Turkey. Some even discussed it at the Foreign Affairs Council the other day, despite solidarity with Cyprus, which was non-negotiable,” a Brussels diplomat explained to Ethnos.
The flow of immigrants to the Greek islands also increased in June of this year. A total of 3,122 immigrants passed from Turkey to Greece during the 30 days of the month, when the corresponding month of 2018 saw 2,439 immigrant arrivals. There were 2,012 arrivals of immigrants to the same areas during June of 2017.