ATHENS ( Associated Press) — Greece’s migration minister says the number of migrants arriving in the country has dropped significantly over the past two years, and the number of asylum-seekers has also decreased.
At an event on Tuesday to mark the third anniversary of the establishment of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, Minister Notis Mitrachi pointed to the center-right government’s propensity for policies, such as better border security, streamlining the asylum process and toughening immigration laws. held responsible.
Greece had the fewest number of migrants in a decade in 2021, Mitrachi said, putting the figure at 9,000 people. In 2015, at the height of the migration crisis, hundreds of thousands of people arrived in Greece, most of them moving from Turkey to the Greek islands and from there through the Balkans to more prosperous European countries.
“After the event surge in the 2015-2019 period, in 2021 we had the lowest flow in a decade, 8,745, and that continued to decline in 2022,” Mitrachchi said. “The result is that instead of 92,000 asylum seekers in 121 facilities, we have 14,000 in 33 facilities.”
In 2015, Mitrachi said, migrant arrivals in Greece accounted for 75% of those in the EU, while in 2022 the percentage is just 5%. He added that Greece would also try to change its laws to attract workers through legal means.
“The issue of immigration does not end there. And this is both a challenge and a necessity. Our country is implementing a strict, but fair immigration policy.” “We insist on immigration with rules, norms, agreements, which accommodate our needs. But we strongly oppose smugglers and illegal immigration.”
Greece has been accused of carrying out summary deportations of migrants as soon as they arrive on its territory, without giving them an opportunity to request asylum, which is illegal. Despite considerable indications that the practice takes place both on the Greek islands and along the country’s land border with Turkey, Greek officials vehemently deny that it occurs.