Minister defends efforts to improve conditions at Moria migrant camp


Greek Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas on Friday defended efforts to improve conditions at the notorious Moria migrant reception and processing center on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, saying that all its residents are vaccinated and have access to education and “music classes.”

Vitsas was responding to questions from Democratic Alliance MP Theodoros Papatheodorou, who slammed the government over conditions at Moria and accused the leftist-led coalition of violating transparency rules by directly assigning contracts related to the running of this camp and other migrant centers rather that putting them up for tender.

The minister conceded that conditions at Moria “are difficult,” but put this down to the recent increase of inflows from Turkey rather than to a government failure to improve the living conditions for more than 8,000 refugees and migrants crammed into a facility built for 3,000.

“Conditions at Moria have improved significantly and are expected to improve even more,” Vitsas said, citing a scheme for transferring hundreds of asylum-seekers from that facility to other camps on the mainland.

In regards to accusations concerning the ministry's deal with a luxury hotel in the northern Greek town of Grevena, Vitsas said that all other accommodation spots on the mainland have been filled and that five hotels in that area had responded to an invitation of interest by the ministry, offering rooms at a discounted rate.