THE influx of refugees and migrants to Greece has sharply declined in the first nine months of the year, Migrations Minister Notis Mitarakis said on Monday.
Mitarakis said that there were 12,300 arrivals from the start of the year until the end of September.
According to him, this is 73 percent down from the corresponding period in 2019, when nearly 45,000 people came across the border.
At the same time, Mitarakis said the number of resolved pleas for asylum, accepted or denied rose by 82 percent.
There were presently 3,150 confirmed refugees waiting for transfer to other EU countries.
Conservative Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis took over in July 2019 and promised to tighten border controls.
This year, Greek police clashed with migrants attempting to cross from Turkey and the coastguard began aggressively patrolling migrant sea routes.
Further, Mitsotakis also pushed for faster processing of the asylum procedure. But it was also clear that the coronavirus pandemic played a role in the migration flow.
The country, particularly its islands near the Turkish coast and the section in the north straddling the land route between Turkey and the rest of the Balkans, became the main gateway for migrants trying to reach wealthy EU nations since 2015.
Tens of thousands of people have, however, been stranded on Greek soil since European countries sealed their borders to migrants in March 2016, as the influx continued and the processing lasts for months before completion. (dpa/NAN)
– Oct. 12, 2020 @ 14:59 GMT |