Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas insisted on Tuesday that only a few migrants would be sent back to Greece from other European Union member-states now that the decision has been taken to reactivate the Dublin agreement.
“It is something that I have been saying for the last four months,” he told Skai TV.
“We are going to implement the Dublin agreement symbolically, which means that the number [being returned] will be very small, a few dozen people over the next few months.”
Nevertheless, New Democracy accused Mouzalas of trying to present an “idyllic image” of the situation in Greece regarding refugees.
“Unfortunately, his claims founder on the unpleasant truth being experienced by the residents of islands and refugees and migrants at reception centers,” added the conservatives, who accused the government of not being able to manage the situation.
“The situation on the islands is still difficult but it is under control on the mainland,” said Mouzalas, adding that some of the refugees would stay in Greece permanently.
“We are starting the process of assimilation, which is difficult but we will succeed,” he added.
Under the EU’s Dublin regulations, would-be refugees must file for asylum in the first member state of the bloc they enter. If they have traveled on to other EU nations, they must be returned to their first port of call. The requirement was halted for Greece in 2011.