ATHENS - "The New Democracy (ND) government does not follow the policy that the country pursued until 2019," Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi said late on Tuesday, addressing members of the Standing Committee on Public Administration, Public Order and Justice working on a bill to reduce migration flows.
He called on the opposition parties to seize the opportunity and vote for the provisions of a bill that will speed up asylum procedures. He also said that the planned replacement of open structures by closed type ones will reduce the number of people staying there to "less than half", adding that open structures will be closed a few days after.
Referring to the effectiveness of border protection measures, Mitarachi said that only 39 arrivals were recorded in April, and that in the first four months of 2020 arrivals decreased by 20 pct compared to 2019.
Regarding the asylum procedure acceleration measures, he said that the time for the first decision has been reduced to 24 days (for the 2020 arrivals) from 183 days in 2019. He added that while 4,000 asylum decisions were issued each month in 2019, in March and April 2020, 7,000 decisions and 15,000 decisions, respectively, were issued.