In an interview with the German journal Der Spiegel, Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas spoke about the hotspots on the Greek islands as well as about the agreement with Turkey.
Asked if Moria camp, on Lesvos has been better prepared for the winter than last year when refugees died of cold, the minister replied that preparation will be finished by 15 December at the latest:
"We already sent more equipment and food to the camp. However, the key is the number of newcomers. If things remain as they are, then I think we have been well prepared. We are thinking of booking hotel rooms. " Asked if he can rule out the possibility of once again there might be deaths, G. Mouzallas replied: "No, I can not rule it out. What I can guarantee is that we are doing everything to prevent this situation.
"Everyone who worries about human rights should protest in Brussels."
But why does the Greek government not move the refugees to mainland Greece in order to decompress the islands? "The EU-Turkey agreement provides for this restriction in specific geographical areas. (All asylum seekers with minimum exceptions must stay in the island's hotspots until their request is considered). The agreement is binding on both sides. Should we break up the refugee camps and let the deal with Turkey collapse? No, we will not. This is in the interests of the EU as well ".
But Mouzala admitted that it is a controversial agreement, but "it is also true that the agreement has led to a reduction in the number of newly arrivals of refugees by 97%. All those concerned about human rights should go to Brussels and protest there to increase the number of direct returns from Turkey to Europe through the relocation mechanism. As long as this is not the case, we will build more camps like this in Moria. "