Moria camp fire: Athens tightens asylum policy

At least one woman has perished in a fire that broke out during riots at the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. Human rights organisations have been decrying the conditions at this so-called "hotspot" as unbearable for some time. Now the Greek government has reacted by tightening the country's asylum policy. Is this the right response?

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To Vima (GR) /

Pressure on Europe must increase

For To Vima, the planned toughening of migration policy is a step in the right direction:

“It's clear that Greece and the other front-line countries can't bear the burden of all the refugees and migrants in search of deliverance on their own. ... A revision of the asylum process will improve the situation somewhat, but it won't bring dramatic change. If we don't want to experience far more tragic situations than the one on Sunday we must internationalise the problem and apply constant pressure on Europe.”

The Press Project (GR) /

People reduced to mere numbers

The stricter asylum policy is inhumane, the Press Project writes:

“Increased 'border protection', attempts to carry out fast track deportations, and new camps: the government's sole aim seems to be to increase the number of deportations so that it can show the figures to its supporters and so that the 'invaders', as Development Minister Adonis Georgiades calls the refugees, don't die while it is in power. The core of this policy, however, is that people are seen as threats and figures. ... So many in Moria, so many in squatted houses [in the centre of Athens], so many in the new camp. And if we think of souls merely in mathematical terms, death will laugh next to them, and next to us.”

Die Welt (DE) /

A disgrace for the EU

The fire and the deaths are not simply an "unfortunate incident", as Athens described them in an attempt to defuse the situation, Die Welt writes:

“Thousands of men, women and children from various cultures are crammed together in extremely confined spaces, under inhumane conditions - who can be surprised when something goes wrong? It's a disgrace that Europe has done nothing to prevent tragedies like this from happening. Improving the situation in the eastern Aegean as a joint EU undertaking wouldn't be such a mammoth task. All that's lacking is the will. Because what counts are dropping refugee numbers. The rest doesn't matter.”