After Paris attacks, Greek migrant tests remain cursory

Athens has faced heavy scrutiny over its screening of more than 750,000 people who have landed on its shores this year.

AFP| Updated: Dec 07, 2015, 12:09 PM IST
After Paris attacks, Greek migrant tests remain cursory

Athens: Greece is under growing pressure over its handling of the migrant crisis -- but on Lesbos island, swift registration procedures are still seeing thousands of new arrivals packed off promptly to elsewhere in Europe.

After revelations that two jihadists involved in the Paris terror attacks slipped into Europe through another Greek island, posing as refugees, Athens has faced heavy scrutiny over its screening of more than 750,000 people who have landed on its shores this year.

This week Yiannis Mouzalas, the minister in charge of migration, admitted "delays and failings" in Greece`s handling of the influx and called on the European Union to activate a crisis mechanism that will allow it to claim emergency aid.

Athens has faced growing criticism on border security from other European countries including Hungary and Slovakia, and has been forced to refute a report that its place in Europe`s passport-free Schengen zone is in jeopardy.

On Lesbos, the main European gateway for refugees and other migrants from the Middle East and elsewhere, officials systematically register and test arrivals to judge whether they are really from where they say they are -- but the process is quick and not especially detailed.

"The first day, the coastguard asks your name, your nationality and your age," said Hamidullah, an Afghan.

"The following day, you register at Moria (a refugee camp). The police take your fingerprints, photographs and ask some questions. This took no longer than five minutes." Hamidullah has no passport, merely a piece of paper stating his identity. Many others turn up with no papers at all.