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Greek Migration Minister Defends Government's Handling of Refugees

1160dd05198754255e9af343f6bb8155Greece’s Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas defended the government’s handling of the refugee crisis, although he admitted that some mistakes were made.
Mouzalas spoke at the SYRIZA Conference on Saturday giving an unofficial report of the administration’s handling of the migrant influx. He stressed the importance of the upholding of the European Union-Turkey agreement for managing the situation.
“We are in this position because SYRIZA is in government, and because you, the SYRIZA people, were actively involved in this, despite the mistakes that we made,” the minister said.
The minister said that the Greek government had to deal with an unprecedented migrant inflow in a situation that was difficult and complex. Nevertheless, he said, “we managed.”
“Nobody has died from illness, there have been small and limited incidents of violence among refugees and migrants, we cleared Idomeni in two months without violence,” he said, praising the government’s work for building 50,000 accommodation places compared to the 1,149 that existed when SYRIZA came to power. “Thirty thousand children have been vaccinated and are starting to go to school,” Mouzalas added.
“We have a plan, as long as the EU-Turkey agreement is being implemented. It is the best agreement we could get and whoever is opposed to it should propose something better,” Mouzalas said.
The minister admitted that mistakes were made because of the complexity of the situation and the sheer number of migrants. He said that there was bad coordination between ministries in some cases, but overall the handling of the situation was successful.
Mouzalas also talked about the criticism he received from some SYRIZA members who disagree with the EU-Turkey agreement. He said that he is not responsible for the deal and suggested that party members should get together and agree on a migration policy and make proposals instead of bickering.

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