Greek Minister of Migration Policy Ioannis Mouzalas has outlined his government’s plans to cope with the refugee crisis in Greece in 2017.
During a press conference on the 28th of December, Mouzalas said:
#1 MAINLAND GREECE:
- Cash for food: By March 2017, Greek authorities plan to stop distribution of food in some organised sites. To cover the necessities of migrants and refugees, the government will install kitchens and provide cash through a cash assistance program, in cooperation with the EU and other international and non-governmental organisations. Mouzalas later clarified that the money for each refugee family will be one euro less than the minimum guaranteed income of a Greek family, for “symbolic reasons.”;
- After the Christmas holidays, the government will begin a program relocating some people to the island of Crete, where they will be hosted in apartments, in cooperation with the local authorities. In November, Mouzalas said that no more than 2,000 people will be relocated to Crete;
- Winterization: Mouzalas said that “currently no refugees are in tents without heating” in camps in Greece. Volunteers and NGOs were highly critical, noting that in many sites people are still living in substandard conditions without proper heating;
- Education: Mouzalas confirmed plans to provide formal education for to up to 20,000 refugee children in the coming months.
#2 GREEK ISLANDS:
- The government is planning to establish new smaller sites with prefabricated shelters, in order to improve conditions on the islands;
- Security: Authorities are also working on increasing police presence on the islands and on establishing small closed centres (100-200 people) to “tackle criminality,” and detain migrants and refugees displaying “criminal behaviour,” Mouzalas noted;
- The number of Greek Asylum Service staff working on the islands will be increased from the current 60 to 100.