Greek PM Tsipras: I am Proud of Living Conditions of Refugees on the Mainland

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he is proud of the living conditions of refugees in mainland Greece, but expressed concern over problems with migrants on the Aegean islands.

While in France, Tsipras spoke to Le Figaro newspaper about the migrant crisis: “Our islands have taken the weight of all of Europe. This refugee crisis was the biggest after World War II. The agreement between the EU and Turkey is difficult but necessary, helped to put an end to the horror of daily deaths in the Aegean. Today we have more than 60,000 refugees in mainland Greece living under good conditions with access to health and education. I am proud of that. The situation on the islands remains difficult. There are many refugees and migrants, and asylum procedures are time consuming.”

Regarding the Greek economy and the crisis, Tsipras claimed that Greece’s “adventure” will end in August 2018. “For the first time I think it is no longer a dream,” he said.

“When I was elected for the first time in January 2015 with the will of the people, it was a clear direction of change for Greece and Europe. You remember how difficult the negotiations were in the first half of 2015. Some thought that the Greeks needed to be punished. But we managed to avoid the worst and stay in the hard core of the Eurozone,” Tsipras said.

Tsipras said that two years after the hard bailout negotiations growth has returned to 2 pct of GDP and it is expected to reach 2.5 pct in 2018, while at the same time curtailing social injustices.

Referring to the European Union, the Greek prime minister said that the European institutions must become more democratic. “Decisions can no longer be made behind closed doors,” he stated. Europe cannot be a forum for discussions between technocrats or political leaders, where the most powerful impose their decisions on the rest; for example, as is the case with Germany, Tsipras added.