Greek minister praises Turkey-EU deal on refugees
LESBOS – Anadolu Agency
Speaking at the regional conference on production and reconstruction in the north Aegean on the Greek island of Lesbos, Vitsas slammed some European countries who are ignoring deteriorating living conditions in refugee camps.
“The antidote for European countries applying a closed-door policy [towards refugees] is the refugee deal between the EU and Turkey,” he said, adding that the number of the refugees in overcrowded camps would be cut down by September 2018.
“There are as many as 15 refugee camps on the Greek islands including Lesbos, Chios and Samos, which is above the total camp capacity. The Greek government aims to move the refugees to the mainland to ease the problems,” Vitsas said.
In 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal aiming to stem the irregular migration flow through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The deal also allows for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, on the condition that Ankara meets all 72 requirements set by the EU.