Greek Migration Minister Doesn’t Want “Warehouse of Souls”

July 8, 2018

ATHENS  – With Greece trying to deal with more than 64,000 refugees and migrants packed into island and mainland detention centers and camps for more than two years, Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas said he doesn’t want the country to become a human repository.

“As the government, we will not allow Greece to become a warehouse of souls,” he said of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition that has come under blistering criticism from human rights groups, volunteers, activists, NGO’s and the United Nations for the conditions of the centers and lagging pace of dealing with asylum applications.

He also struck at the leaders of Hungary and Austria for political “authoritarianism” via a “fear-mongering agenda” after Europe closed its borders, dumping the problem largely on Greece, with Turkey allowing human traffickers to flood Greek islands with more refugees and migrants during a suspended swap deal with the European Union.

Hungary and Austria, along with Germany, want Greece to take back refugees and migrants who made it to their countries as the EU rules require them to have asylum only in the country where they first landed – which almost always means Greece or Italy.

Vitsas told an Athens radio station that said that “if one excludes April, where we had an increase in (refugee/migrant) flows, all of the other months witnessed a major reduction in flows in Evros (the border prefecture) and a reduction – not as noteworthy – in northeast Aegean islands.”

He said the goal is to reduce the number of Mideast war refugees and third country migrants on the islands from 17,000 now to 10,000 by the end of September. There has been frequent tension in the centers over delays in processing asylum with other EU countries reneging on pledges to help take an overload from Greece and the European migration commissioner, Greece’s Dimitris Avramopoulos, not forcing them to help.


Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer warned there will be mass returns of migrants if Greece doesn’t take them voluntarily, as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Seehofter told Der Spiegel, Seehofer said the absence of bilateral deals was “not a good strategy” and that Germany will start returning migrants reaching its border if something isn’t done.

Alexander Dobrindt of the Christian Social Union said he believed German plans to return asylum seekers to European Union countries of first entry would not necessarily be met by cooperation.
“Whoever is not in a position to honor fundamental European regulations cannot expect cooperation in other areas,” he said.

German Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen said, however, Greece will cooperate. “We want an agreement with Greece by the end of the month,” she told the Funke publishing group, adding that such an accord could be an example for other countries.


THESSALONIKI – A 27-year-old man accused of spiking a woman's drink at a New Year's celebration and raping a 27-year-old woman was acquitted by a council of judges who said she lied about the alleged assault.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.


TNΗ’s Happenings of the Week by Eraklis Diamataris

NEW YORK – The National Herald’s Happenings of the Week as have been reported at the print and digital editions of TNH and presented by the TNH Editor Eraklis Diamataris.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.