Athens, August 12, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Greece has an average rate of refugee arrivals ranging between 80 to 100 people per day which is the same since the start of the EU-Turkey agreement, Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas said on Friday, adding that claiming there’s an increase of arrivals and a breakdown of the deal is wrong.
“There’s no such increase to indicate that Turkey is violating the agreement with the EU,” he told journalists after a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras which he said was scheduled and not an emergency meeting, as some media reports claimed.
“What we need is a daily confirmation that the deal is being kept and this is what we’re fighting for. Please stay calm,” he said.
Mouzalas acknowledged there are delays in the processing of refugees, particularly in Lesvos, Chios and Samos, which makes their lives difficult. To tackle this issue, he said the government has started transferring migrants that commit crimes to detention centers in Athens, from where they will be returned to their countries. “This will serve both as a relief and a message. Refugees and migrants must respect the laws of our country, as our country with its laws respected their particular predicament,” he said.
Refugees who cannot be returned to Turkey will be sent to camps in the mainland, a step which will further help he islands. Mouzxalas also said the civil protection ministry has received orders to better police the islands.