Govt abruptly announces reinstitution of migration/asylum ministry, in face of continuing crisis

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 12:46
UPD:16/01/2020 23:12

A stop sign is seen as migrants walk near Dobova, Slovenia October 20, 2015. Migrants continue to stream north through the Balkans from Greece but Hungary sealed its border with Croatia on Friday and Slovenia imposed daily limits on migrants entering from Croatia, leaving thousands stuck on cold, rain-sodden frontiers. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

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The Mitsotakis government on Wednesday abruptly announced the reinstitution of a migration and asylum ministry, as scores and even hundreds of third country nationals continue to reach a handful of eastern Aegean islands on a daily basis after being ferried from the opposite Turkish coast.

A government spokesman said that veteran New Democracy (ND) deputy and minister Notis Mitarakis will assume the minister's post, upgraded from his current Cabinet position as deputy social insurances minister.

Mitarakis, who is elected from the eastern Aegean island of Hios (Chios), one of the islands affected by the migrant/refugee crisis, was shown in a video this week being surrounded by angry protesters at a municipal council meeting on the island.

Giorgos Koumoutsakos, who held the migration and asylum portfolio as the alternate citizens' protection minister - a euphemism for public order - which switch to alternate minister of the new ministry.

The months-old Mitsotakis government has faced criticism, particularly from its own voter base, for not deflecting and better managing the migrant/refugee crisis since assuming power in early July 2019. As the main opposition party, center-right New Democracy adopted a more hard-line policy vis-a-vis irregular migration and people-smuggling of would-be asylum seekers.

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