Greece cannot remain a destination for migrants, says Minister

Greece cannot remain a destination for migrants, says Minister

Greece cannot remain a destination for migrants, says Minister

Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi said that refugee camps have been decongested by 38% compared with January 2020, during an interview on ERT1 on Tuesday.

He clarified that some of the refugees have been deported and made it known that this is the first time this summer that more people had left Greece than those who entered.

"Flows have been reduced by 90%. A total of 2,700 have left, while 2,000 have entered our country. We are no longer talking about creating new hosting facilities, but about closing some of them," Mitarachi continued.

At the same time, recognized refugees will not be transferred from overcrowded island camps to the mainland, in order to limit the possibility of further infections. This, in turn, may help decongest Athens’ central Victoria Square, where many evicted refugees have set up camp.

The minister made it clear that Greece cannot remain a destination for migrants. "We do not have the capacity to support them all. We cannot provide lifelong benefits - lifelong pension and lifelong residence. Even asylum is not for life, it lasts for three years," he underlined.

Mitarachi also stressed that flows in Evros have been reduced by 58%. The new fence is being prepared that will make our eastern borders safer, he added.

Moreover, a total of 35 cases have been confirmed at the Moria Reception and Identification Center on the island of Lesvos, the Migration Ministry said in a press release on Tuesday, announcing the completion of the checks.

Some 2,000 samples were collected at Moria by EODY health teams between September 3-5 and another 100 from the center's employees, the latter tested all negative.

It is recalled last week, the first coronavirus case was reported in Greece’s largest migrant camp. The Moria hotspot was placed under quarantine for two weeks.

The Migration Ministry said the infected man, a 40-year-old Somali, was granted refugee status and a residence permit to live in Greece. He had left the camp on July 17, however he returned and had been living in a tent outside the camp fence. He is currently isolated in hospital and is in good health.