ATHENS – After the European Commission said the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition was at fault for subhuman conditions at refugee and migrant detention centers on Greek islands, the Migration Ministry said blamed local officials.
Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas, who has been blistered even within his party for his lagging response to a growing crisis that has seen some 15,000 migrants and refugees being cooped up until he decided to allow some transfers of the most vulnerable to the mainland, passed on the fault.
Secret videos at the Moria detention center on Lesbos, which, along with Chios and Samos is hosting most of the refugees and migrants unleashed by Turkey, which has let human traffickers keep operating despite a suspended swap deal with the European Union, showed people living in feces-and-garbage-strewn facilities and broken toilets.
In an interview with news website New Europe, the EU’s special envoy on migration, Maarten Verwey, said the European Commission had made funding available to ensure all the refugees and migrants could be accommodated properly but that it wasn’t being used right. “However, the Commission cannot order the creation or expansion of reception capacity against the opposition of the competent authorities,” he added.
Speaking to Kathimerini, unnamed sources inside the ministry said the money had been received but without explaining where it went said Verwey had omitted any mention of the difficulties “although he has personal experience.”
The mayors on the islands had ripped Mouzalas and the government and even protested outside his office but he wouldn’t come out to see or meet them, instead visiting Lesbos on But the Economy Ministry said of the 540 million euros ($646.93 million) earmarked for the refugees and migrants up to 2020 only 97 million euros ($116.21 million) has been sent by the EU, which the government has blamed for not doing enough with finger-pointing going on all around.
Mouzalas, who said people sleeping in snow-covered tents on the islands previously weren’t cold but that he couldn’t guarantee none wouldn’t die this winter, had accused EU governments of “hypocrisy” for failing to shoulder their fair share of the refugee burden.