Mouzalas: We plan to close most refugee camps in 2017, move people into apartments

The Greek government is planning to close most refugee camps in 2017 and transfer 10,000 people in apartments, Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said in parliament on Friday, responding to a relevant question tabled by the Centrists’ Union.

“Today we send to Europe a plan which foresees the closure of camps in 2017 and the transfer of 10,000 people to apartments, aiming to have very few [camps] in 2018. This means money for the population and dignity for refugees.

Since April, we are proceeding with the payments towards migrant beneficiaries and we continue the programs to send children refugees to schools,” the minister said, noting that the European Union has agreed with the plan.

Asked about the situation in Hellinikon, Athens’ old airport which serves as a makeshift camp for refugees, Mouzalas said moving people out of there is his first priority and that he “doesn’t deserve” the responsibility for the delay in their move, as the opposition is suggesting.

“I took personal responsibility for Hellinikon many times. I couldn’t, we couldn’t, we had 55,000 people to take care of. We will try, it’s in our plan […] it’s our first priority. We are building the camps to transfer them,” he said. “It’s wrong to claim we are using them as a trick to block its privatization. You can’t be serious,” headed.