Greece to receive refugees from Germany as goodwill gesture

Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas confirmed on Tuesday that Greece will receive a small number of asylum seekers from Germany as a good will gesture, part of an ongoing refugee relocation programme.

Mouzalas confirmed that Germany, along with Belgium and the Netherlands had already accepted over 17,000 refugees from Greece and by the end of 2017 will have accepted an additional 7,000 people as part of the programme.

Speaking to Greek media the minister noted that this deal with Germany had already been announced in the press four months ago saying the prerequisite for those refugees to be returned to Greece is to have ensured good living conditions according to EU standards, such a house to live, adding that the policy concerns a “few hundred people”.

“We show that when we make demands, we also give something back,” he said, adding however that this is not a re-application of the Dublin Treaty.

Commenting on the roughly 50,000 refugees who have remained in Greece, Mouzalas said the ministry has started the process of integration into Greek society.

“These people don’t have to suffer what Greek migrants went through in other countries,” he said.

Asked about the living conditions on the mainland, he said the implementation of the government programs have been described as “good practice” for the rest of Europe.

The ministry is progressing with the gradual abolition of camps and soups kitchens, refugees are moved into apartments and receive a cash card so they can cook and shop on their own.

This way, he said, the ministry helps the refugees directly and the money returns to the local community.