The Greek government has acknowledged that it considers declaring a state of emergency to deal with the refugee crisis and that it has already submitted to the European Union a contingency plan.
This was revealed by Minister of Migration Policy, Yannis Mouzalas on Sunday during an interview with Mega TV channel.
“Unfortunately, the plan must be implemented”, said Mouzalas who added that Greece has worked out and submitted details in terms of the funds, personnel and humanitarian assistance required for its implementation.
The minister admitted that currently there are about 22,000 migrants and refugees stranded in Greece.
“Within the next month we estimate that there will be between 50,000-70,000 people stranded,” he added.
Mouzalas said he expected the influx of refugees and migrants to slow when the information of closed borders reached Turkey, where millions of people fleeing the war in Syria have taken refuge.
“I believe that the influx will diminish when the news that the Idomeni border crossing is closed will be propagated. We are preparing an information campaign which will be broadcast in Turkey”, the Migration Minister said.
Angela Merkel’s interview with state broadcaster ARD
With up to 70,000 refugees expected to become stranded on Greece’s northern borders in the coming days, Merkel warned that the recently bailed-out Athens government could become paralysed by the huge numbers of arrivals from war-torn areas of the Middle East and Africa.
“Do you seriously believe that all the euro states that last year fought all the way to keep Greece in the eurozone – and we were the strictest – can one year later allow Greece to, in a way, plunge into chaos?” she said in an interview with public broadcaster ARD.
Merkel also defended her open-door policy for migrants, rejecting any limit on the number of refugees allowed into her country despite divisions within her government.
Merkel said there was no “Plan B” for her aim of reducing the flow of migrants through cooperation with Turkey and warned that the efforts could unravel wereGermany to cap the number of refugees it accepts.
“Sometimes, I also despair. Some things go too slow.
There are many conflicting interests in Europe,” Merkel told state broadcaster ARD. “But it is my damn duty to do everything I can so that Europe finds a collective way.“
Merkel spelled out her motivation to keep Germany’s borders open without limits on refugees, a policy which has damaged her once widespread popularity.
“There is so much violence and hardship on our doorstep,” she said. “What’s right for Germany in the long term? There, I think it is to keep Europe together and to show humanity.
Merkel ratcheted up her rhetoric against anti-immigration protesters by calling the abuse shouted at a busload of refugees in eastern Germany in February “repulsive” and “unjustifiable”.