ATHENS – The government has successfully completed the procedure of overwintering in camps and refugee centers around the country and there are no more refugees or migrants living in the cold, Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas told journalists on Jan. 5.
“There are no refugees or migrants living in the cold anymore. We successfully completed the procedures for overwintering,” he said, with the exception of 40 tents left in Vayiohori, near Thessaloniki, and another 100 in Athens.
“Of course, without the EU-Turkey deal we wouldn’t have been able to do what we are doing. We would have had another 100,000 people whom we would have to shelter,” he added.
Mouzalas also said the European Union must fulfill its responsibility to relocate refugees, noting the procedure is progressing very slowly.
“We have 2,500 unaccompanied minors, 700 of which are entitled to immediate relocation, but they have only taken 200,” he said.
He also spoke of the “unaccompanied brides” – minors who were married off in their country of origin but when they came to Greece they lacked the necessary paperwork, which means that they are not treated as a couple with their husband in their relocation application.
Asked about the NGOs who are operating in various camps, he said that those that do not register with the ministry by March will not be allowed to work in the camps.
He also admitted that without the NGOs the government would not have made it through the first phase of the refugee crisis.