Alt. Migration Minister: We must be prepared for the possibility of closed borders

We must be prepared for the possibility of closed borders, Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas said on Wednesday in an interview with Mega TV, describing this as “a unilateral action by other countries.”

As a government we are preparing for that possibility, he said, but he considered that it would be a manageable problem because refugees and migrants that will be trapped in Greece, if borders close, will amount to around 50,000.

“Those that build up fences are wrong; closing the borders at Idomeni, we lose the only way to control refugees flows in Europe,” he estimated.

Asked on a possible involvement of NATO, Mouzalas said that it is a positive development provided that Frontex and NATO patrol Turkey’s territorial waters, rescue refugees and push them back to Turkey. “If this is the plan, it is a good one,” he stated.

He underlined that the key to addressing the refugee issue is controlling refugee flows in the Turkish coasts and expressed the hope that the European efforts towards that end will succeed. He added that Greece is putting pressure so that refugees are pushed back to Turkey via Frontex.

Referring to the reactions for the construction of hotspots on the island of Kos, he stated: “At a time when our country needs to meet its commitment for the construction of hotspots, the mayor raises obstacles.”