Greek PM sees 'no chance' Balkan route will reopen, migrants must move to shelters

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 15, 2016 6:29 AM

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday there was "no chance" border shutdowns throughout the Balkans would be lifted and urged refugees to move to reception centers set up by the state.

"Unilateral actions countries on the Balkan route were not taken by accident and we believe there is no chance that those who shut the route will reopen in," Tsipras said.

The so-called Balkan route has been the main passage into northern Europe for hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees.

Tsipras urged refugees and migrants to "abandon persistent efforts" to stay near the Greek border town of Idomeni because they put their lives at risk and called on them to move to shelters instead.

"We therefore urge them to move to reception centers the Greek government has created for them, in humane conditions, and we will work together to speed up their legal transfer to Europe," Tsipras said.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris, Renee Maltezou and George Georgiopoulos)