Athens, February 16, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
The EU’s response to the refugee crisis will be in cooperation with Greece and not against Greece, said Monday the representative of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas, invited to comment on the meeting of the “Visegrad four” with governments of FYROM and Bulgaria, to promote the proposal for the closing of the northern border of the country.
Shinas added that the European Commission is doing everything it can to support the Member States in the management of this unprecedented migration flow.
In parallel, he emphasized that based on the latest Commission figures, there is significant progress in the registration of refugees and migrants in Greece and hoped that this trend of improvement will continue.
The European Commission’s representative, responsible for immigration Tove Ernst, also said:
“Any action to the Macedonian border will be undertaken in cooperation with the Greek authorities and Frontex”.
According to her, the Commission welcomes the assistance from EU member states to FYROM to help with controls at its borders with Greece.
Ernst Tove said that an additional EUR 10 million of european aid was given to FYR Macedonia, in order to improve the management of migration flows at its borders and in particular for the better systematic controls and better monitoring of the borders and identification and registration of third countries nationals.
She also stressed that this aid is not to finance the construction of any fence, because he said, “the work of the Commission is aimed at the management of the border and not on closing them”.
In regard with the construction of hotspots in the Greek islands, Tove expressed the Commission’s satisfaction with the work in progress and added that in the next few days, and before the European Council, are expecting that more hotspots will be operational.
In Berlin, government spokesman Steffen Zaimpert, supported the implementation of a common european solution, which “no does not bypass any european country nor is it against an individual member state”. He reiterated that the main priority for Berlin is to improve the guarding of the European Union’s external borders as a prerequisite for the maintenance of Schengen.
“From the perspective of the German government, it remains imperative to improve the guarding of EU’s external borders. This is the main requirement to put in order and to control and eventually reduce the flow of refugees. Without effective guard of external borders, the freedom of movement within the Schengen area will be jeopardized”, Zaimpert said and referred to the “important proposal” put forward by the European Commission for the common european guarding of the border and coast.
“Our advocacy is: let’s implement this as soon as possible; indeed, before the end of the Dutch presidency”, added the German government spokesman, to stress: “I reiterate that when we talk about a European solution, we mean a solution of the whole of Europe, which (solution) does not bypass any european country nor is it against an individual member state”.
Commenting the article of Sigmar Gabriel, to which the German Vice-Chancellor is against the possibility of the exclusion of Greece from the Schengen, he said: “I understood the text of Sigmar Gabriel as a very strong advocacy for european solutions – for european rather than national solutions. And this is a fundamental belief of the government”.
“There is word – and I really hope this is the case – that in the discussions of the Visegrad countries will be present, the Greek Foreign minister”, said the representative of the German Foreign Ministry during a regular briefing of journalists and added: “That would be, from our point of view, exactly the right approach, to be discussed with those are burdened the most, and not for them, or bypassing them”.