Minister talks tough on illegal immigrants

Citizens? Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Wednesday sought to discourage undocumented immigrants trying to use Greece as a launch pad to a better life in Europe, heralding a crackdown at the country?s ports.

Speaking at the northwestern port of Igoumenitsa, where hundreds of migrants live in a makeshift camp and regularly try to sneak onto ferries to Italy, Papoutsis said the camp would be razed soon.

He said authorities should make it clear to would-be migrants that their plans will be thwarted. ?Migrants will not leave unless they realize that we will not allow them to get to Europe,? Papoutsis said. ?The message is clear,? he added. ?Those with the right to asylum or a work or residence permit can stay. Everyone else must go.?

In Athens, a municipal council aimed at boosting the integration of migrants living legally in the capital convened for the first time on Wednesday. The initiative is to be led by councilor Maria Kouveli.

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