Thursday, October 21 2021
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Statement by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the events in Moria

I would like to express my regret for yesterday's events in Moria. I do appreciate the difficult circumstances. However, there can be no excuse for violent reactions to health checks. Even more so, for such unrest. The situation in Moria cannot go on because it is also a matter of public health, humanism, and national security.

The entire island is declared in a state of emergency, which means that all national resources and all national forces will come to its assistance. All unaccompanied children are already being evacuated today.

In fact, I have also informed the European authorities with which we have an ongoing cooperation. After all, the problem of migration flows management is primarily European.

Greece has already shouldered a burden much heavier than its fair share. Tomorrow, Lesvos island will be visited by the Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, with whom I will meet on Friday.

The State apparatus was immediately mobilised: Guests will be accommodated in appropriate tents. Those who have tested positive to coronavirus will be treated, and the inhabitants of Lesvos will be compensated and protected.

A government team is already on the scene. There will be detailed announcements at six o'clock this evening. No other immigrant or refugee, however, will be allowed to travel. There will also be some restrictions on movement and local activities.

This is an extraordinary but absolutely necessary measure. And I am certain that our islanders will understand and comply.

I would remind you that more than 13 000 people have been transferred from Moria since the beginning of the year and the circumstances would, certainly, be much worse had the state not prevented new migration flows in the meantime.

Obviously, controls at our maritime borders, which are also European borders, will be pursued with the same effectiveness that has so far drastically curtailed illegal entry. I believe that a poor experience can quickly turn into an opportunity for a better reality. This is what will happen in the case of Lesvos.

As soon as the damage to Moria has been assessed, and in consultation with the European Commission, we will take concrete initiatives. Our priority remains the health and safety of all. Inhabitants and immigrants.

I would like to stress, though, that Greece, with the support of Europe, can and will defend security and peaceful life across its territory; its national dignity but also its humanity towards the weak.