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Food and water sold to refugees at speculative prices

10 September 2015 / 12:09:47  GRReporter
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Reports of residents of the Greek islands and the region around the Greek-Macedonian border illegally profiteering to the detriment of refugees have recently become frequent, driving the Greek authorities to begin intensive inspections.

Teams of the General Secretariat for Trade and Consumer Protection are to be immediately sent to the island of Lesvos, due to the highest influx of newly-arrived refugees and immigrants there.

The investigation has been prompted by a report of chief auditor of the state administration Leandros Rakintzis, which contains information on a large-scale speculation in the regions where refugee and immigrant waves are arriving.

The document is intradepartmental and its content is not presented to the media. According to information, however, many residents of Lesvos, Kos and other islands where the boats with refugees and immigrants arrive, are taking advantage of them.

In statements to the Greek site a resident of Lesvos with initials E.K. says that some restaurant and shop owners are literally "squeezing" the refugees. "Some shops at the port have an unprecedented turnover, even compared with the peak tourism periods. They are selling a small bottle of mineral water, 0.5l, for 1.5 euro (its average price in Greece is 0.50 euro - author’s note). Some have even introduced a "fee" of 2 euro for charging a mobile phone for half an hour."

SKAI TV reports that in Idomeni village, which lies on the border between Greece and Macedonia, a bread roll with fries and tomato costs 3 euro in some cases and if meat (gyros) is added the price increases to 5 euro. "Enterprising" residents are offering accommodation in warehouses that have been modified to look like "hotels".

The inspections will involve the local authorities that will impose fines in the case of established profiteering.

The option of imposing price controls on essential goods and services in these places for an indefinite period of time is also under consideration.

Meanwhile, former Minister for Migration Tasia Christodoulopoulou has again been provocative by claiming that not only have the Greek islands not suffered due to the massive refugee inflow but they have also profited from it.

Commenting on the economic consequences of the arrival of tens of thousands of refugees and immigrants for local communities, she said, "The islands are becoming rich due to the refugees. All of them have money and therefore they are staying at hotels, shopping in all the shops resulting in an incredible turnover. This includes the illegal cases of them being required to pay to charge their mobile phones. Because the immortal moral spirit always finds a way to take advantage. "

Her statements provoked a storm of ironic comments to which she responded with the statement that she was the victim of political bullying. The former minister issued a message, stating that "the selective release of my interview for the press project aimed solely at confronting the island residents with SYRIZA. The reports of illegal enrichment to the detriment of refugees apply only to speculators. They have appeared as news in the media many times and they certainly do not refer to the majority of island residents."

Tags: SocietyRefugees and immigrantsSpeculationGreek islandsLesvosGreek-Macedonian border
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