Immigration Minister: "We have borders and we know how to keep them"

Greek-Turkish border at Evros. SYRIZA

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Reduction of migratory flows, significant increase in asylum applications, gradual decongestion of structures in the islands of the Eastern Aegean and transparency in funds have occurred in the last 12 months, according to Immigration Minister Notis Mitarakis.

The Minister of Immigration, answering a question from SYRIZA MPs, explained to the national delegation that the ruling New Democracy government in its first year of government has managed to "regain control of immigration," while emphasising that "we have borders and we know how to protect them."

Mitarakis stated that:

  • We have reduced the flows by 92% in the last quarter and in the first half of the year by 51% in our islands.
  • We have increased the issuance of asylum decisions by 88% and we are already at the beginning of our effort.
  • We faced the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic, without loss of human life.

Regarding the issue of transparency in the use of funds for immigration, Mitarakis said "we are leaving the state of emergency law established by SYRIZA in 2016. We are now shaping agreements - framework, already this year, adopting best practices of the European Union. But also where urgent procedures had to be implemented, for example in the construction of emergency structures, we have achieved a significant reduction in costs. Our strategy is to sign multi-year framework agreements, with open international procedures, which will ensure: both cost reduction and absolute transparency, and the provision of necessary services to all the infrastructure of the Ministry."

Elsewhere he pointed out that "the competition on SYRIZA, in 2019, after two failed attempts, provided for the transfer of 10,000 people at a cost of €2.2 million, while we with a new tender, which was completed in May, secured 30,000 [illegal immigrants to] travel at a cost of €2.04 million. Achieving a very large reduction in costs, over 70%!"

Finally, the minister criticised the policy of the SYRIZA government, saying: "They will haunt you forever, in the consciousness of the Greek people. The policy of open borders, the losses at sea, the creation of dozens of structures on both the islands and on mainland Greece, the Joint Declaration of 2016, which led to the confusion of our islands."

"You left them there so that not only we, but also the local communities would remember what the humanity of the Left really was," he added.