The Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and Government Spokesman Stelios Petsas issued a statement regarding the Government’s decisions on the refugee-migration issue.
The Government, according to the announcement, has been pursuing a different policy on the Refugee-Migration issue from the outset, implementing a comprehensive plan based on four pillars:
– Border guard.
– The acceleration of asylum procedures.
– Increased returns.
– and the creation of closed infrastructure.
At the same time, according to the communication, the Government is focusing on depressurizing the islands which have assumed the heaviest burden, as well as supporting local communities.
In addition, the Government is simultaneously undertaking targeted actions to internationalize the problem and formulate new political responsibility and solidarity with the European Union.
An exhaustive dialogue has been taking place recently with the relevant regional and local authorities, while Northern Aegean Regional Governor Mr. K. Moutzouris has called for emergency measures for the islands, especially after the incidents that took place in Moria. The Government has decided to close down the chaotic structures that operate today and create controlled closed infrastructure.
In this context, the Council of Ministers today adopted a Legislative Content Act authorizing the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, for reasons of public interest, to proceed with the requisition of necessary property and land to tackle the crisis, in order to address the highly urgent need to avoid jeopardizing public order and health. It will also be followed by a Ministerial Decision by the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum requisitioning land in the areas of Karavas, West Lesvos Municipality, the Cretan Lakos/Psira (“17”), the Municipality of Chios, Zervos (adjacent under construction), as well as in the Municipality of Eastern Samos.
Similar structures, adjacent to existing structures, will also be created in Leros and Kos, in areas belonging to the Greek State, namely Captain Lazaris Camp, Pyli, Kos and Lepida, and in the Municipality of Leros.
In the above-mentioned areas controlled closed asylum seeker accommodation structures will be established.
Controlled closed structures mean defined and strict rules of internal order, which concern both the operation of the centers and the movement of the guests. In these structures will reside firstly the new arrivals, in order to facilitate identification and the asylum process; second, those who demonstrate abusive behavior; thirdly, those who are not entitled to asylum and for whom the return process has begun. Those who remain in controlled closed structures will be entitled to controlled card exit for a specified period of time, while the structures will close at night. Any violation of an internal rule of law adversely affects the asylum claim and speeds up the process of returning the offender to their country of origin.
Reactions by SYRIZA
The main opposition party reacted promptly, as it issued a statement in which it notes that “today’s government announcements confirm that it insists on refusing to depressurize the islands, installing at least two centers on each island, one of which will be “closed” while the other one will be allegedly “controlled “.
If one takes into account that Mr. Mitsotakis had declared on November 11 that this would be “the last time a mass transfer of refugees from the islands to the mainland was taking place”, it becomes obvious that the islands’ future will turn from tragic to unbearable”, the statement notes.
“SYRIZA insists that there is in fact a solution, only if Mr. Mitsotakis’s government decides to stop this big mess it has created with its monumental back-peddling, culminating in the successive changes of ministers responsible and the dissolution of the Ministry”, the announcement continues.
For these reasons, the government must, according to SYRIZA,
– “Immediately start depressurizing the islands by transferring refugees and migrants to the mainland.
– Increase the staffing capacity of the Asylum Service (interpreters, appeals committees, doctors and nursing staff)
– Ensure the proper operation of one – and not two – reception and identification centers on each island
– Increase pressure and demand solidarity from all EU Member States.
Solutions can only exist on the basis of international law by protecting the rights of both residents and asylum seekers”, SYRIZA concludes in its statement. /ibna