Europe

Greece to migrants: move to camps voluntarily or be forced

  • Tents where migrants stay are placed at the Athens port of Piraeus, Thursday, April 7, 2016. The European Union took its first steps Wednesday toward a fundamental reform of its defective migration policy, which has heaped huge pressure on some nations like Greece as over a million migrants and refugees surged into the continent over the past year. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Tents where migrants stay are placed at the Athens port of Piraeus, Thursday, April 7, 2016. The European Union took its first steps Wednesday toward a fundamental reform of its defective migration policy, which has heaped huge pressure on some nations like Greece as over a million migrants and refugees surged into the continent over the past year. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • A migrant sits at a promenade of the Athens port of Piraeus, Thursday, April 7, 2016. The European Union took its first steps Wednesday toward a fundamental reform of its defective migration policy, which has heaped huge pressure on some nations like Greece as over a million migrants and refugees surged into the continent over the past year. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    A migrant sits at a promenade of the Athens port of Piraeus, Thursday, April 7, 2016. The European Union took its first steps Wednesday toward a fundamental reform of its defective migration policy, which has heaped huge pressure on some nations like Greece as over a million migrants and refugees surged into the continent over the past year. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Children play at the port of the Greek island Chios, Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Volunteers are concerned about children's health of some 300 migrants and refugees who managed to leave the VIAL detention center on the island a few days ago. Authorities said that more than 1,700 migrants and refugees are on the island. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Children play at the port of the Greek island Chios, Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Volunteers are concerned about children's health of some 300 migrants and refugees who managed to leave the VIAL detention center on the island a few days ago. Authorities said that more than 1,700 migrants and refugees are on the island. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

Authorities in Greece say thousands migrants and refugees camped out at the country's largest port near Athens have been given two weeks to move to army-built camps or be expelled by force.

The warning issued Thursday came as nearly a third of the 52,000 migrants stranded in Greece by European border closures are refusing to move to organized shelters and remain camped out at the port of Piraeus and at the northern border with Macedonia.

At Piraeus, government officials and translators spent hours trying to persuade migrants to move voluntarily to a new camp in northern Greece, showing them aerial photographs of the site and explaining what facilities are available.

More than 4,000 migrants remain at Piraeus — an important site for Greece's vital tourism industry.