Thousands of migrants at overcrowded migrant camps on the island of Lesbos in Greece should return to Turkey, the Greek government agreed a day after a deadly fire broke out at the Moria migrant camp.
By the end of 2020, Athens wants 10,000 migrants to return to Turkey, in a bid to ease pressure on the overcrowded camps, the government said in a statement following the four-hour Cabinet meeting, Deutsche Welle reports.
The move signals a significant change in policy, as conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis enacts a more hard-line approach to the migrant situation in the country.
In a statement, the Athens government said the 10,000 would be an increase from the "1,805 returned in the 4.5 years under the previous (left-wing) Syriza government."
Mitsotakis announced further measures such as more naval patrols in the Aegean, closing centers for migrants refused asylum, and plans to overhaul the asylum system, including building camps for those deemed "illegal" or who have been refused asylum.