Well-organized reception infrastructures and hosting facilities on islands are required for the effective implementation of both a national and a European strategy on migration, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told mayors of North Aegean islands at a meeting in Athens on Wednesday.
The migration strategy “will soon be clarified effectively by the new European Union Migration & Asylum Pact, which we hope will be voted through soon enough,” Mitsotakis told the local officials at Maximos Mansion.
Speaking of the government’s priority in tackling the migration crisis from the start of its tenure in office, the premier noted, “Despite all the difficulties we were dealt with during the first few months in government, the results are extremely encouraging.”
He assured the Mayors of Mitilini (Stratis Kitelis), Chios (Stamatis Karmantzis) and East Samos (Georgios Stantzos) that “we will never return to the logic of having islands burdened with extremely high numbers of refugees and migrants.”
All the mayors asked for the continuation of what they called a successful implementation of island decongestion policy and effective border protection. They also requested the shutdown of refugee facilities in or near large towns or urban centers and for the construction of smaller, better controlled refugee centers of adequate capacity.
Mitsotakis reminded all that that Wednesday’s meeting marks one year since the visit of leading EU officials to the Evros border region, where migration pressure from Turkey came to a head. “Responding to my invitation, they came and inspected Greek-Turkish borders, recognizing that these are also the borders of Europe with Turkey”, the premier concluded.