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“Greece cannot be gateway for new refugees wave,” says Μigration Minister

“It is clear our country will not be a gateway for a new wave of refugees,” Greek Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis said on Monday just hours after the Taliban took over Kabul and thousands of desperate Afghans started to flee their country. With the country to have experienced a huge Migration crisis with Syrian refugees in 2015 under left-wing SYRIZA, the conservative Greek government got cold feet the moment the news from Afghanistan reached  Athens. What was interesting in the Greek TV news on Sunday and Monday morning was that the political developments in Afghanistan were seen through the lens of potential refugees influx.

Speaking to Open TV, Mitarakis recalled that the Greek Foreign Ministry had declared Turkey was a safe country for Afghan refugees.

“In the last 12 months we have shown in practice that we know how to guard our borders and the reduction of flows has reached 96%. We have only 4,500 arrivals in 2021 compared to 15,000 last year and 72,000 in 2019, so it is clear that we are in full readiness to protect our borders, ” the Minister said.

“Two months ago, Greece, on the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Immigration, declared Turkey as a safe country for Afghans. Beyond that, it is a matter for the European Union to strengthen the joint declaration of 2016, but also to support Turkey, which as a neighboring country will face more pressure than the rest of Europe,” he emphasized.

“Greece cannot be the gateway and that is a clear message,” Minister Mitarakis stressed.

Asked to estimate how many new refugees from Afghanistan might arrive in Greece, he spoke of “a very small number of arrivals”.

“Of course, you realize that this is something dynamic, it has a lot to do with the flows towards Turkey and its attitude, but also the attitude of the EU towards Turkey. That is why from the first moment we are on standby at the legal level, at European level, but also at the level of border protection to avoid any pressure to our country similar to the one we experienced in previous years, in similar crises,” Mitarakis said characteristically.

“We never want to see the scenes we experienced in 2015,” he added.

“If there are flows to Turkey, it must be supported by the European Union at the central level, so that it can cope. “I remind you that when the Geneva Convention speaks of refugees, it speaks of people who go directly to the neighboring state, not to the whole continent, the Minister said.

No longer Migration crisis, flows down 60% in 2021

In a statement issued also on Monday, the Migration Ministry said that “Greece is no longer experiencing a migration crisis”and published data on migrants’ and refugees flows.

  • Arrival flows are down 60% in the first seven months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. 
  • 79% drop in those hosted on the islands in July 2021 compared to July 2020 and 46% drop in those hosted in Greece
  • In the first seven months of 2021, 7,114 persons left with destination Europe or other countries via the deportation, returns and relocations of third countries nationals.

In July 2020 a total of 85,618 asylum seekers were hosted in structures managed or supervised by the Migration Ministry while only 46,380 were hosted in July 2021.

As regards legal migration and particularly the Golden Visa, first come the Chinese nationals (69.6%) followed by Turkish nationals (6.3%) and Russians (5.7%).

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One comment

  1. You should change the picture from one of all women to show the reality of that in fact mainly man have been leaving fleeing their country, leaving the women behind to suffer.