The Latest: UN urges Greece to improve migrant conditions
Posted September 8
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):
The U.N. refugee agency is urging Greek authorities to improve conditions for migrants and refugees on eastern Aegean islands, expressing concern for increased overcrowding as the number of new arrivals reached the highest in more than a year.
The UNHCR said Friday that conditions were troubling on Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Leros. It said 3,695 people reached the Greek islands in August, the highest number since March 2016, when a European Union-Turkey agreement came into effect to reduce the migrant flow. The previous highest figure was last August, when 3,447 people arrived.
The figures are far lower than during the peak of the refugee crisis in late 2015, when thousands were arriving daily.
The UNHCR called for "robust action to improve conditions" and the deployment of more staff.
Hungary's prime minister says that a ruling by the European Union's top court upholding the relocation of asylum-seekers opens the way to a "mixed culture and population" on the continent.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban says Hungary, which is refusing to take part in the EU scheme to temporarily relocate refugees from Greece and Italy, is not an "immigrant country" nor does it want to be one.
Orban has kept immigration on top of his political agenda since 2015. He said Friday on state radio that he "took note" of the European Court of Justice ruling which rejected legal arguments by Hungary and Slovakia against the EU decision creating the relocation scheme.
He says "now instead of a legal fight, we have to fight a political fight" to change the decision.