Greek minister says refugee problem is 'manageable'

Migration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas warns against 'panic' as thousands remain trapped on Greece's northern frontier

Greek minister says refugee problem is 'manageable'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Almost 9,000 refugees and immigrants in Idomeni on Greece’s northern border are trapped due to frontier restrictions implemented by neighboring Balkan countries.

According to Greek police, very few people have been able to cross the border. A mere 30 passed from Greece on Monday; 70 passed between Tuesday and early Wednesday and 100 more the same morning after which the Idomeni crossing point closed again.

At least 102,000 refugees and immigrants have passed through Greece so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, pushing the cash-strapped country to ask for European help.

On Sunday, Greece submitted an emergency plan to the EU requesting 450 million euros [$488 million] for supplies and reinforcement according to Migration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas.

A new 700-million-euro emergency assistance fund for EU countries which will be dispersed between 2016 and 2018, was proposed on Wednesday by the European Commission, according to Greece’s Athens News Agency-Macedonian Press Agency.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, interviewed by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday, stressed that “there can be no united Europe without absolute respect in common struggles and values, but also on shared responsibilities and shared commitments.

“We must face together the difficulties. We will succeed together or fail together."

Greece is trying to cope with a huge refugee influx.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mouzalas told the Union of Greek Regions that the numbers could be managed.

“Do not panic. The problem is manageable. This is an extraordinary event and time is needed for its final resolution," Mouzalas said.

The total number of refugees and immigrants throughout the country is estimated at 20,000 according to the Greek Ministry of Immigration, a number that changes every day.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Mart 2016, 09:39