Statement by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the events in Moria
I am deeply saddened by yesterday’s events in Moria. I fully understand the difficult conditions at the camp there. There can be no alibi, however, for the violent reactions to strict health protocols and checks due to Covid. Especially, when we are talking about reactions to the extent we witnessed last night. What happened there cannot go on any longer, as it is also a matter of public health, humanitarian, and national security.A state of emergency has been declared for the entire island. All national resources will be available to this end. All unaccompanied minors will be transferred away from the island immediately.I have fully informed all European authorities with which cooperation is ongoing. After all, the problem of migration flow management is primarily a European problem.Greece has already shouldered a much heavier burden 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.All national resources have been mobilized. Everybody on-sitewill be accommodated in appropriate living conditions. Those who have tested positive to Covid-19, will receive full medical attention. Lesvos’ permanent residents will be fully protected and compensated accordingly. A government team is on the ground. There will be detailed announcements at 6pm this evening. No migrant or refugee, however, will be allowed to travel outside the island. There will also be further restrictions to movement and local activities within the island.This is an extraordinary butabsolutely necessary set of measures. And I am certain that the people of Lesvos will fully understand and comply.It is important to note that more than 13,000 people have been transferred from Moria since the beginning of the year and circumstances otherwise would have been much different.Obviously, control of our maritime borders, which are also European borders, will remain in place so as to continue to curtail illegal entries.This unfortunate event can become an opportunity to deliver better conditions and a new reality in Lesvos. This is what we will do. As soon as the damages are fully assessed, and in full coordination with the European Commission, we will undertake concrete initiatives. Our priority remains the health and safety of the island’s residents, as well as all the migrants and refugees.
Greece, with the support of Europe, can and will defend its security and peaceful coexistence within our country. We will defend our national dignity, but we will also protect and defend everyone in need.