Migrants: We are not a concentration camp says Greek minister

Panos Kammeros has strong words for Europe

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Migrants: We are not a concentration camp says Greek minister

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  • Greece promises to speed up work
  • Strong words from Greek Defence Minister
  • 67,000 arrive in January says IOM

Bending to pressure from the EU, Greece is to speed up work on five migrant registration centres and two relocation camps.

Last weekend, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said work would be intensified on so-called “hotspot” centres on the islands of Samos, Lesbos, Chios, Kos and Leros near the Turkish coast.

Two military camps will be turned into relocation centres, each with a capacity to house 4,000 migrants.

Greek officials say the work will be done by February 15.

“I want to assure you that all the hot spots and two relocation centres will be ready before February 15, this is our commitment. All seven will be ready.” said Panos Kammenos, the country’s Defence Minister.

“Some Europeans may want to turn the country into a concentration camp or a warehouse for humans,” Mr Kammenos told reporters.

“We will not allow Greece to turn into a storage space for humans.”

“Greece has already paid the price too dearly, much too dearly, in the midst of an economic crisis.”

“The Greek people showed compassion, the Greek people helped.”

EU demands

EU interior ministers have urged Athens to do more to control the influx of migrants.

There has been criticism for a failure to control the flow of arrivals.

Exclusion from the Schengen zone has been fielded as a possible response to the handling of the crisis.

The EU has taken various steps to give money to Athens to deal with the crisis.

However, some member states feel this is not being used enough.

The numbers

  • 1,011,712 – the number of migrants and refugees who used Greece as a gateway to Europe in 2015 (more)
  • 62,000 – the number who arrived in January 2016 (more)
  • 368 – the number of deaths in January 2016 (more)