A migrant wearing a raincoat stands among tents during a rainfall at a makeshift camp for refugees and migrants next to the Moria camp, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, December 13, 2019. Photo: Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters
A legislative amendment submitted in Parliament on Friday aims to overhaul the government’s response to the ongoing challenges posed by migration, appointing a senior official to oversee all aspects of the problem.
According to the legislation, a so-called “national coordinator” would head a new body that would have both political and military competences but would be independent of both ministries and the armed forces and would answer directly to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The new body would be tasked with coordinating the supervision of the country’s land and sea borders and would be staffed with both military and political officials.
It is widely expected that Deputy Defense Minister Alkiviadis Stefanis would be given the job.
The move prompted the criticism of former migration minister Dimitris Vitsas, who indicated that the “last-minute” amendment could create confusion.
“What would happen if the crew of a coast guard vessel gets one order from the minister and a different order from the head of the coast guard?” Vitsas said.
For his part, the parliamentary spokesman of leftist SYRIZA, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, called for the amendment to be revoked, accusing the government of endangering the smooth operation of Greece’s rule of law and democracy.