Moria campfire: France, Germany urge EU states to welcome migrants

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France and Germany on Thursday urged other European Union member states to open their doors to unaccompanied minors in the devastated Moria migrant camp in Greece.German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that Berlin and Paris would accede to a Greek request to take in unaccompanied minors who previously lived in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.

A major fire ravaged the overcrowded camp on Wednesday, destroying 80% of the facility and displacing the 12,600 migrants who lived there, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The camp was originally designed to accommodate 3,000 migrants.

Merkel urged other member states to join the initiative, stressing that “this is a European problem”.

Meanwhile, Macron said following a meeting of Med7 – EU Mediterranean countries including Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain – that Paris will show “concrete solidarity” and “will take our responsibilities by offering to take care of the unaccompanied”. minors. ”

However, neither Macron nor Merkel have indicated how many unaccompanied minors they will take in, but IOM said on Thursday it had transferred 406 of them from the island to mainland Greece.

The Netherlands has already offered to take in “50 unaccompanied minor foreign nationals and 50 people in family relations with minor children who have been affected by the Lesvos fires”, said the Deputy Minister of Justice and Justice. Security, Ankie Broekers-Knol, in a statement.

“Anyone who sees this thinks it’s terrible. And in this exceptional situation, according to the government – and me too – exceptional measures are necessary ”, she continued.

Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Thursday that the vast majority of migrants would stay in Lesvos and be placed in emergency accommodation.

Authorities said the fires were deliberately started on Tuesday and Wednesday evening by residents protesting their confinement in the overcrowded camp. The camp has been locked down due to a COVID-19 outbreak this month.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told journalists after the Med7 meeting that “Europe must move from words of solidarity to a policy of acts of solidarity. We must place the migration crisis at the heart of our discussions and be much more concrete ”.

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