The Greek government decided on Monday to halt its previously-announced expropriations of land for the creation of new detention camps on five Aegean islands until Friday.
After facing strong opposition on the part of local communities, Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis announced the delay in an interview with public broadcaster ERT, saying “We are freezing requisitions so that the dialogue starts.”
Last week, the Greek government announced that it would issue a legislative act authorizing the expropriation of properties in a bid to speed up the building of enclosed migrant camps on the islands which are mostly affected by the migration influx.
The Council of the North Aegean Region angrily responded to the move, announcing that it would take legal action against the plan and suspending all cooperation with the national government.
Migration Minister Mitarakis called on residents and local authorities to work together in order to launch a dialogue, even pleading “Give us alternatives.”
The Minister also noted that the requisitions are “nothing more than a lease of those premises” for three years, adding that the government’s aim is to reduce the time asylum seekers remain in the camps to under six months.