Athens, November 25, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Ambassadors of the 28 member states of the European Union and the member countries of the Schengen held a working visit Tuesday in Mytilene, with the initiative of the Ministry of Immigration Policy.
“We wanted them to see up close the actual conditions under which we are working on the refugee crisis, the efforts we have made to the management of this huge problem. And we wanted the projects they would see to be a response in the effort to frame Greece, made by a number of European countries”, Deputy Minister of Migration Policy Yannis Mouzalas told AMNA.
The ambassadors were accompanied, in order to brief them, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, responsible for European affairs, Nikos Xydakis, the Deputy Minister for Migration policy Yannis Mouzalas, the Major General, Head of the foreign sector and guarding the border for ELAS, Zacharoula Tsirigoti, as well as other officials.
Upon arrival at Mytilene airport the ambassadors witnessed the arrival of a boat with dozens of migrants and refugees. They stopped and witnessed the size of the problem.
This was followed by visits to the Syrian refugee camp in Kara Tepe and the Centre for Registration and Accreditation of Immigrants and Refugees in Moria. At midday they boarded an Offshore Coast Guard boat and sailed to sea boundary between Greece and Turkey.
“They had to see”, Mouzalas said, “where the boats come from and explain to them once again that the work we do at the sea is to defend Europe’s borders and to save human lives. You can’t repel someone at sea. At our land borders we can and keep out people who do not have the right to enter, but at sea borders we have to save them”.
Commenting on the expected results of the visit, the Deputy Minister of Immigration Policy said that “all this must and can act positively. We said that all this must stop, that Lesvos has become a place for curious people who come and go as they please. Mercedes go about the island with formal delegations”.
“We want to restore order, to restore our sovereignty. All visits will now be made upon request to the Greek state, and it is clear that we do not want to hide anything. Requests will be met, but Greece won’t be turned into an unfenced vineyard for anyone”, Mouzalas said.
Regarding accusations against Greece for its practices in relation to immigration – refugee issue, Mouzalas noted: “They accuse us for the registration procedures. It is clear that when in Lesvos, for example, where we have organised procedures for 4,000 people, come in one night 15,000 people, it is obvious that the procedures will not be as good. I claim that right now I have one of the best recording systems in Europe. That the vast majority of the people that come to our country are being recorded using european machines, while some are registered in paper, after which they are registered in the electronic recording system. So I want to remind you this: That the two terrorists who had gone through Greece, and even in October, a time when we had in Greece only 12 machines, had been fully identified based on European Union standards. After that, they passed without being certified to the central European countries; namely France, Austria, Germany did not certify them. We had them certified and we knew where they were. This does not mean that there isn’t room for improvement. This what we are trying to do and this is what we wanted to show them today”.
Over 1,700 arrivals in one day
More than 1,700 immigrants and refugees have arrived in Lesvos from Tuesday morning until 6pm. It appeared that southern winds blowing in the area prevented more arrivals, particularly of plastic boat.
A day before, the sea washed ashore three more corpses of refugees from older shipwrecks in advanced sepsis. A child’s corpse washed ashore in Pythagorion of Samos, while those of the two men were spotted at the entrance of the bay of Gera and Plomari.
Meeting with the mayor of Lesbos
The ambassadors of the EU Member States, met with the mayor of Lesbos, Spyros Galinos, in the auditorium of the Regional Council. After the meeting, Galinos gave each ambassador a life jacket, the same as the one worn by refugees during the dangerous journey. As the mayor said “these life jackets, will remind them daily of the crime that takes place from unscrupulous traffickers”.