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Migration Minister says 20,000-25,000 refugees to remain in Greece if EU Turkey deal continues

Greek Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said that 20 to 25 thousands refugees will remain in Greece if the EU Turkey deal stands. At the same time, he expressed concern about the increasing influx of refugees and migrants on the Greek islands.

Speaking to Skai TV on Tuesday, Mouzalas said if the EU Turkey deal “fails, things will be difficult.”

He noted that after the clearing up of Idomenti camp in North Greece last year, 25,000 refugees have been transferred in one way or another outside of Greece.

“We have 10,000 people with right to relocation and 6,000-7,000 with the right to family reunion,” the minister said.

He admitted that there is a problem on the islands because of the influx of migrants and refugees and that the plan for small pre-accession centers should go ahead on all islands.

According to Mouzalas,  the number of refugees arriving in Greece has declined. He said that  70 to 80 percent of the new arrivals are migrants, not refugees.

He also argued that the Asylum Service is working satisfactory.

According to latest official data, 13, 963 people are on the Greek islands and a total of 62,162 people across the country.

The EU Turkey deal imposed as of March 2016 has impressively decreased the number of new arrivals. However, the number of registered refugees and migrants remains constant at 62,000.

KTG understands that Mouzalas more or less expressed the government wish that refugees will be indeed relocated.

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