Government’s aim is to relieve migration pressure of the islands, says Migration Min Vitsas

Greece has seen conditions reverse with respect to the flow of refugees and migrants in 2018, Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas said on Tuesday, regarding the recent increase in arrivals.

“We have 33 percent more flows in April in comparison with 2017. The new element is that the flows have increased on the border along the Evros river. We follow a policy that starts with the Geneva Treaty and is based on the EU-Turkey Statement,” he said, speaking to the radio station 104.6 ‘To thema’.

“Our aim is to relieve pressure on the islands and improve living conditions for both refugees and locals, offer due compensation and carry out some infrastructure works in the hotspots and in the area. Many of these measures are included in the draft law that will be submitted for voting in the following days in parliament and others are included in the development programme for Northern and Southern Aegean” said Vitsas.

On relieving overcrowding in hotspots, Vitsas explained that asylum processes must be carried out more swiftly, so that those who receive the asylum can go to either the mainland or other European countries and the rest be sent back to Turkey, in accordance with the EU-Turkey agreement.

On the migration flows via Evros, he said that these have “tripled” and suggested that the refugees prefer this route because it is safer.