Greece wants the EU to help run its island migrant camps

European Council President Charles Michel, center, accompanied by Greek officials, looks at the new temporary refugee camp in Kara Tepe during his visit on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Greece has called on the European Union to jointly run new refugee camps being built on its eastern islands as part of a planned overhaul of the bloc's migration policy. (Dimitris Tosidis/Pool via AP)

Credit: Dimitris Tosidis

Credit: Dimitris Tosidis

Greece has called on the European Union to jointly run new refugee camps on Greece's eastern islands as part of an overhaul of the EU's migration policies

KARA TEPE, Greece (AP) — The Greek government on Tuesday urged the European Union to jointly run new refugee camps on Greece's eastern islands as part of an overhaul of the EU's migration policies.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made the proposal at an Athens meeting with European Council President Charles Michel as Greece works to house thousands of asylum-seekers left homeless after fires gutted the squalid, overcrowded Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos.

The government says the fires were set deliberately by migrants protesting a coronavirus lockdown, and authorities on Tuesday announced the arrests of six suspects in the case.

The suspects, all from Afghanistan, include two 17-year-olds who were transferred to mainland refugee camps after the fires. They were being questioned by police, who identified them using videos posted on social media and witness accounts.

Some 12,500 people fled last week's fires at the Moria camp. Most are still homeless and many are refusing to leave a road where they have camped out for almost a week, fearing they could be detained for months at a new camp the Greek army is building.

"We have already started the new facility, and that is where the flags of Greece and the European Union must fly,″ the Greek prime minister said. ″There must be shared responsibility not only for construction, but also for the operation of the camp.″

Michel, who flew to Lesbos after his talks in Athens, did not comment directly on Mitsotakis' proposal but said the EU was determined to show greater solidarity toward Greece.

The EU's executive commission could present its proposals for revising the bloc's migration policies as early as next week. The plans are expected to include tougher border policing and more uniform asylum procedures across EU member nations.

“We know that it’s a very complex political debate ... but we need progress," Michel said.

Germany said Tuesday it will take in 1,553 asylum-seekers -- 408 families with children -- from Greece who already have been granted protected status. This would not include asylum-seekers and migrants from Moria.

German Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there need to be talks on “an overall European solution " to migration.

Most of the 5,000 spaces in tents newly erected by the army on Lesbos remain empty, with only 800 migrants having agreed to relocate, officials said Tuesday. Greece’s migration minister said the government will use force, if necessary, to move homeless migrants into the tent city.

Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said it would take at least six months to build a permanent structure that will replace the Moria camp and it will be at a different location, acknowledging that Moria's migrants and refugees would spend the winter in tents.

New detention sites for asylum-seekers are also planned on four other Greek islands in the eastern Aegean Sea, replacing overcrowded open facilities.

Late Tuesday, police said a wildfire broke out near a camp with 4,600 asylum-seekers on the eastern island of Samos but it was not immediately threatening the camp. ___ Gatopoulos reported from Athens. Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed.

A Greek Army helicopter carrying the European Council President Charles Michel flies over the new temporary refugee camp in Kara Tepe on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Greece has called on the European Union to jointly run new refugee camps being built on its eastern islands as part of a planned overhaul of the bloc's migration policy. (Dimitris Tosidis/Pool via AP)

Credit: Dimitris Tosidis

Credit: Dimitris Tosidis

Migrants play into the sea near Mytilene town, on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Just over 6% of the 12,500 people left homeless last week by the fire that destroyed Greece's biggest camp for refugees and migrants have been rehoused in a new temporary facility under construction on the island of Lesbos. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

A two-month old baby from Afghanistan sleeps at an abandoned building near Mytilene town, on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Just over 6% of people have been rehoused, following a recent fire that destroyed Greece's biggest camp for refugees and migrants making 12,500 people homeless, in a new temporary facility under construction on the island of Lesbos. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

A boy carries a plastic bag as migrants gather on the roadside near Mytilene town, on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Just over 6% of the 12,500 people left homeless last week by the fire that destroyed Greece's biggest camp for refugees and migrants have been rehoused in a new temporary facility under construction on the island of Lesbos. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

European Council President Charles Michel, center, is accompanied by Greek officials visits the new temporary refugee camp in Kara Tepe on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Greece has called on the European Union to jointly run new refugee camps being built on its eastern islands as part of a planned overhaul of the bloc's migration policy. (Dimitris Tosidis/Pool via AP)

Credit: Dimitris Tosidis

Credit: Dimitris Tosidis

A Greek Army helicopter carrying the European Council President Charles Michel lands in the new temporary refugee camp in Kara Tepe on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Greece has called on the European Union to jointly run new refugee camps being built on its eastern islands as part of a planned overhaul of the bloc's migration policy. (Dimitris Tosidis/Pool via AP)

Credit: Dimitris Tosidis

Credit: Dimitris Tosidis

Migrants gather at an abandoned building near Mytilene town, on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Just over 6% of the 12,500 people left homeless last week by the fire that destroyed Greece's biggest camp for refugees and migrants have been rehoused in a new temporary facility under construction on the island of Lesbos. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

A migrant holds baby at an abandoned building near Mytilene town, on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Just over 6% of the 12,500 people left homeless last week by the fire that destroyed Greece's biggest camp for refugees and migrants have been rehoused in a new temporary facility under construction on the island of Lesbos. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

Migrants gather sleep next to a tent near Mytilene town, on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Just over 6% of the 12,500 people left homeless last week by the fire that destroyed Greece's biggest camp for refugees and migrants have been rehoused in a new temporary facility under construction on the island of Lesbos. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

Credit: Petros Giannakouris

European Council President Charles Michel, left, makes statements after his meeting with Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at Maximos Mansion in Athens, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Michel will visit Lesbos later today as Greece's migration minister says the government will use force if necessary to move homeless migrants to a new facility on the island after thousands of people were left without shelter by fires last week at an overcrowded refugee camp. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Credit: Thanassis Stavrakis

Credit: Thanassis Stavrakis

Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, right, makes statements after his meeting with European Council President Charles Michel at Maximos Mansion in Athens, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Michel will visit Lesbos later today as Greece's migration minister says the government will use force if necessary to move homeless migrants to a new facility on the island after thousands of people were left without shelter by fires last week at an overcrowded refugee camp. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Credit: Thanassis Stavrakis

Credit: Thanassis Stavrakis

Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, left, speaks with European Council President Charles Michel during their meeting at Maximos Mansion in Athens, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Michel will visit Lesbos later today as Greece's migration minister says the government will use force if necessary to move homeless migrants to a new facility on the island after thousands of people were left without shelter by fires last week at an overcrowded refugee camp. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Credit: Thanassis Stavrakis

Credit: Thanassis Stavrakis

Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis makes statements after his meeting with European Council President Charles Michel at Maximos Mansion in Athens, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Michel will visit Lesbos later today as Greece's migration minister says the government will use force if necessary to move homeless migrants to a new facility on the island after thousands of people were left without shelter by fires last week at an overcrowded refugee camp. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Credit: Thanassis Stavrakis

Credit: Thanassis Stavrakis