Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was “perfectly clear” when he described the policy followed by the country’s Coast Guard when dealing with migrant boats in the Aegean, his spokesman Yiannis Oikonomou said on Thursday when asked to clarify the the difference between pushbacks and “interceptions,” the term used by the premier at a joint press conference with his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte on Tuesday.
“I think the recent answers [provided by] the prime minister were perfectly clear. It is known that our country implements a tough but very fair migration policy, it has saved dozens of human lives which are endangered by the tactics of traffickers and are supported by those who are supported,” he said at a regular press briefing.
“At the same time, when ti comes to migration, the international community and especially Greek society are aware of the great change that exists in terms of guarding the Greek and European borders, and the conditions under which refugees and migrants are hosted in our country,” he added.
Mitsotakis defended his government’s migration policy when a Dutch journalist accused him of “lying” about pushbacks. He said authorities were “intercepting” boats at sea in accordance with European Union regulations and had granted asylum to 50,000 people, including “tens of thousands of Afghans.”