Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his migration minister came under a hail of fire Monday from a radical faction within SYRIZA over the plight of the thousands of refugees and migrants stranded in Greece.
The criticism was launched during a meeting of the party’s political secretariat at which Tsipras had hoped to showcase his government’s success in steering the country toward a post-bailout era.
But instead, the government and Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas were slammed by members of the political secretariat that represent the Group of 53 faction – seen as a custodian of party purity – within SYRIZA, over the consistent violation of migrants and refugees’ human rights.
More specifically, they blamed the leftist-led coalition government and Mouzalas for delays in providing migrants and refugees with appropriate accommodation as winter approaches.
Moreover, they slammed Tsipras for failing to absorb funds from the European Union and other international organizations intended to aid migrants and refugees.
The government was also chided by the Group of 53 for giving its full support to last year’s agreement between the European Union and Turkey to stem the flow of migrants into Europe, while EU countries were not doing the same.
“If you think I’m doing everything wrong, then I’ll resign,” Mouzalas told his critics at the meeting. However, members of the faction shot back, calling Mouzalas a hypocrite as they said he is planning to leave the ministry anyway as his name has been put forward for a seat on the Council of Europe.
For his part, Tsipras acknowledged there will still many problems with regard to living conditions at accommodation centers, but provided his full backing to Mouzalas.
He blamed many of the problems on the lack of coordination between relevant ministries and the fact that Greece is shouldering a disproportionate burden compared to other European countries.
With regard to the economy, which is what he wanted to talk about in the first place, Tsipras said that the bailout review will be wrapped up soon and that Greece was on a steady course to complete its third and final bailout in August 2018.