The EU and Greek government are currently in negotiations over the construction of new migrant reception centers following the series of blazes that destroyed the Moria camp, which held upwards of 11,000 migrants, on the island of Lesbos back in September. A new temporary camp has been established in its place.
Speaking at a high-level EU conference on migration and asylum on Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that Brussels and Athens were "close to finalizing" a memorandum of understanding to build a new reception center on Lesbos that would ensure "dignified standards of living."
"On this matter, the EU is helping a lot. They give money to Greece in order to have new constructions on the islands. We are going to build new closed centers," Voultepsi, an ex-minister to the Greek prime minister and former government spokeswoman, said.
So-called closed camps would see migrants allowed to leave the facility during the day, but would force them to remain within the center's grounds overnight. According to Voultepsi, housing migrants in closed camps would prevent them from being exploited by those they come into contact with outside the facility's walls.
The new facilities would also play a crucial role in the European Union's attempts to dissuade migrants from attempting to cross the bloc's external borders, Voultepsi remarked.
"The Greek state will secure the preservation of their human rights. Under these legal circumstances nobody will deceive them, propagandizing that they will easily arrive in other European countries. And this is a quite secure way of discouragement to start the trip," the Greek lawmaker said.
Voultepsi added that Greece needs "more help" from the European Union to "protect" the bloc's external borders, particularly amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic.
Since the start of 2020, 14,600 migrants and asylum seekers have arrived in Greece from Turkey, including 4,433 who made landfall on Lesbos, according to the UN Refugee Agency. The current year's total is projected to be significantly lower than the more than 59,700 arrivals reported in 2019.