ATHENS — Μigration and Asylum Μinister Notis Mitarachi on Friday met Philippe Leclerc, the Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Greece, who is nearing the end of his term in the country.
According to a ministry announcement, the two officials "referred to the close cooperation between them and the next steps regarding the management of migration in [Greece]."
"I would like to thank Mr. Leclerc for his many years of assistance in tackling the migration crisis and the implementation of programmes gradually undertaken by the migration and asylum ministry," Mitarachi said and added: "I hope that the good cooperation will continue with his successor, who will soon come to Greece, especially on the issue of illegal crossings, which, as I recently stressed in my letter, unjustly endanger the lives of people and violate the EU-Turkey Joint Statement."
Leclerc, on his part, referred to the programmes previously managed by the UNHCR that are now being transferred to the ministry: "It is a process that takes time but it is very important that it becomes well established, so that the 27,000 accommodation places created for asylum seekers can be consolidated under the management of your ministry. We are working very hard with your staff for this purpose, as well as for the programme to provide financial assistance to asylum seekers, which will be managed by your ministry next year."
Mr Leclerc described the five years of his tenure in Greece as "a particularly intense time" and expressed his satisfaction "that we have contributed to helping the Greek government have a proper management of the asylum and reception process". Finally, he stressed that it was important "to ensure that in the future, those who receive refugee status in Greece, will be able to become integrated in Greek society, so that they can stand firmly on their feet and contribute to the community that received and gave them protection."