Mouzalas admits errors in handling refugee crisis, defends overall record

16 October 2016
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Speaking at SYRIZA’s congress in Athens on Saturday, Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas defended the government’s handling of the refugee crisis and said the upholding of the EU-Turkey agreement would be the most important factor in Greece being able to manage the situation going forward.

“We have a plan, as long as the EU-Turkey agreement is being implemented,” he told delegates. “It is the best agreement we could get and whoever is opposed to it should propose something better.”

Mouzalas accepted that the government had made numerous mistakes, including bad coordination between ministers, but insisted that there had also been many successes.

“Nobody has died from illness, there have been small and limited incidents of violence among refugees and migrants, we cleared Idomeni in two months without violence,” he said, adding that some 50,000 accommodation places had been created, compared to the 1,149 that existed when the government came to power. “Thirty thousand children have been vaccinated and are starting to go to school,” added Mouzalas.

“We did things well, with lots of mistakes, but we did them well,” he said, accusing some SYRIZA members of focusing only on the mistakes and believing the refugee issue “can be solved through discussion.”

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