18:40 GMT +313 November 2019
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    Refugees and migrants walk after disembarking from passenger ferry Blue Star1 at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece, February 20, 2016.

    Greece Drafts EU Emergency Migrant Action Plan

    © REUTERS / Michalis Karagiannis
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    Immigration Policy Alternate Minister said that Greek government drafted an EU plan of emergency action to control the number of migrants and refugees.

    ATHENS (Sputnik) The Greek government drafted an EU plan of emergency action to control the number of migrants and refugees, Immigration Policy Alternate Minister Ioannis Mouzalas said Sunday.

    "We have a contingency plan which should be implemented now. We hope that the EU will move faster," Mouzalas said on air with the Mega television network.

    Around 22,000 migrants and refugees have found themselves stranded in Greece after the Baltic transit route countries drastically cut entrance numbers. Mouzalas projected the figure to grow more than twofold by mid-March.

    "There are plans when borders are closed…We are building emergency camps – not the usual reception centers – with tents in fields," he stressed, allaying fears that the migrants and refugees would stay in Greece indefinitely.

    He said 3,000 undocumented migrants returned to their homelands voluntarily under the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) program.

    Mouzalas further reassured that there would be "nothing wrong" with declaring a state of emergency in the southern region of Attica as a means of civil defense.

    Commenting on the northern border that Macedonia sealed off earlier, the minister said Greece was preparing an online advertisement campaign with the United Nations for broadcast in Turkey so that migrants and refugees decide not to cross the Aegean.

    IOM said this year’s migrant crossings from Turkey to southern Europe exceeded the 120,000 mark this week, nearly four months earlier than in 2015.


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