Greece is buckling as migrants exert unprecedented pressure on Greek resources.
Refugees continue to stream across the Aegean Sea from Turkey, but the situation has deteriorated rapidly since the Balkan route has been blocked off.
Euronews reporter Nicoleta Drougka spoke to the Greek government spokesman for refugees, Giorgos Kyritsis, who admits that Greece is very close to the limit: “We are facing the imminent danger of a humanitarian crisis. Because people keep coming to Greece. We keep rescuing people from the sea around the islands. And at the same time, after unilateral and unannounced decisions by certain EU members, borders are now closed. We believe that urgent help from the EU is needed. Also an urgent process of resettlement needs to be orchestrated by the EU.’‘
Euronews: “For days now, we have seen people who have the chance to move somewhere more secure, but prefer to stay in the mud. Why is that?”
“People are suffering, from anxiety. Some are misinformed. They are led to believe that very soon the borders will open and they will cross. We prepared brochures in three languages, where we explain that the borders are closed. We invite them, with the backing of the Greek state, to move to hospitality centers that are only a few kilometers south, where the Greek state can provide them with decent support.”
Euronews: “As the EU summit approaches, there are indications that any readmission agreement with Turkey will only concern future refugee arrivals. What do you think?”
Giorgos Kyritsis: “I think that as far as the EU-Turkey negotiations are concerned, we should wait for the summit. As we know, all issues stay open and all issues close simultaneously.”