"Migration flows during summer almost doubled compared to the same period in 2017. This has created a big problem in the reception and indentification centres. In Moria, about 3,500 people left and 5,500 arrived from the opposite coast. This has made things difficult," Minister for Migration Policy Dimitris Vitsas said on Friday in an interview with Real FM.
Concerning the EU-Turkey Joint Statement, Vitsas said that "we cannot claim that Turkey does not implement the Joint Statement. Turkey tells us that it stops 1,500 people a day, but we cannot check on this. Turkey has 3 million refugees and migrants within its territory."
"Our efforts are focused on having a permanent channel of communication with Turkey, on the one hand, so that they can better guard their borders and to speed up asylum procedures, on the other. We have increased asylum decision-making processes by 30 pct, and their performance, which was the main problem - by 50 pct. I insist on saying to our European partners that a redistribution programme is needed, rather than everyone dealing with the problem alone. This means that the issue must be resolved in the countries of first reception, which are mainly Spain, Greece and Italy but also Cyprus, where migratory flows have increased as well."
Asked about the flows in the Evros region, he replied that "they have significantly dropped. We have come to a state where they are almost zero."