The Greek parliament has approved a law which will allow the deportation of refugees to Turkey starting from Monday.
The bill is going to be implemented based on an EU-Turkey deal signed last month. It is expected to halt the uncontrolled influx of refugees fleeing war-torn countries, particularly Syria.
From the 300-seat parliament, 169 Greek MPs voted in favour and 107 against; 24 MPs were absent.
The bill, which will incorporate EU law on asylum seekers, will introduce several conditions for registering refugees, allowing them to find work and to qualify for international protection.
The ruling Syriza and Independent Greeks coalition, plus the Democratic Coalition and Potami voted in favour.
New Democracy, Golden Dawn, the Greek Communist Party and the Centrists’ Union voted against the legislation.
The bill had been tabled in parliament on Thursday under a fast-track procedure amid a heated debate between MPs.
Main opposition New Democracy MP Vasilis Kikilias said that the tactic used by the government is “unacceptable” claiming it was impossible to read a 150-page bill in one day.
“You use the accelerated procedure when you know you have to submit 56 regulatory acts? You won’t even be able to implement them in three years,” he stated.
Earlier today, the Greek authorities struggled to persuade refugees and migrants who are currently staying at the port of Pireaus in Athens, to leave the site and move to other designated accommodation.
From the estimated 5,300 people at the port, only 72 agreed to board busses which arrived to take them to a camp in Ioannina in northern Greece.