“Greece has made progress in the management of refugee crisis,” said Philippe Leclerc, representative of UNHCR in Greece stressing that “there has been progress in the living conditions of the refugees when compared with those existing five years ago.
Addressing the Thessaloniki Regional Forum 2019 on Saturday evening, Leclerc said “five years ago there were only one thousand temporary hosting seats.” But “now there are twenty seven thousands in apartment and twenty thousand seats in the hosting centers,” he added.
Pointing out that even these places are “not enough because people come from Samos, Lesvos and many of them are sent to the mainland,” he stressed the need to have more options.
Leclerc said that Greece can help with its experience other Balkan countries to build their systems in this sector and with EU’s support. The Balkan counties are, for the time being, crossing countries and not reception countries, he added.
“Of course, all these countries are not yet member of EU, they have received some support but not as much as Greece” said Leclerc adding that it is important for every country to have a share in the refugee crisis, including those that previously were refugee originated countries and now are receiving refugees from other countries.
“The refugee issue (from Balkan countries) is an issue of the past. Now, the countries of the Balkans offer hospitality to refugees. This is a major change”.
Asadi* is 12 years old, from Afghanistan & travelling alone in Greece.
The Street Team of IRC partners Faros placed him in a shelter and gave him a care package of essential goods. #RefugeesGR pic.twitter.com/LwEwmKNuhX
— International Rescue Committee – Europe (@IRCEurope) February 17, 2019