Meimarakis plays the refugee card — Greece should strengthen its border defences to check the unprecedented wave of migrants landing on its shores, the head of New Democracy Evangelos Meimarakis said in an interview on Star Tv.

Speaking to Nikos Chatzinikolaou on ‘ston eniko’, Meimarakis said: “As regards migrants, the borders must be better protected and Greece should not send the message that ‘it’s good over here, come over”.

“Because whoever comes here, sends this message to those waiting”, he added.

Meimarakis, whose New Democracy party is running neck-and-neck with the leftist Syriza party in polls ahead of the September 20 election, drew a distinction between economic migrants and refugees.

While advocating a tougher approach on people fleeing poverty he said people fleeing war should be facilitated in reaching their chosen destination in Europe.

He also pushed for a harder stance on people-smugglers.