Alternate Minister for Citizens’ Protection Yiannis Panousis on Wednesday denied reports he had given an order for irregular migrants arriving in Greece not to be arrested after a controversial circular was leaked to the press the previous day.
According to the document, which was made public by Skai TV on Tuesday, migrants arriving in Greece illegally would not be detained, but instead be given a 30-day deadline to leave the country. If they failed to leave the country within that period, they would be arrested and deported within six months.
The circular prompted a reaction from conservative New Democracy opposition which accused the SYRIZA-led government of planning to close down the all of the country’s detention centers and release all migrant detainees.
During a press conference Wednesday, Panousis said that the circular had not been approved by the ministry’s political leadership, adding that an official inquiry would be launched into the issue.
“This text came out of nowhere. The government has not yet announced its policy on immigration,” Panousis said.
In the same conference, the minister also attacked Skai and other media outlets, saying that the journalists had failed to cross-check their information, resulting in fear and panic among the public.