Athens, December 2, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Escalation of pressure on the government for the “common guarding of the border” is expected in the coming months, with the European Union reportedly ready to even threaten Greece with “eviction” from the Schengen zone.
According to a publication of the Financial Times, the E.E. threatens Greece that it faces the risk of having its participation in the Schengen zone suspended, putting the free movement of it citizens within the EU at risk, from mid-December “if it does not change its position on refugee crisis, as irritation grows regarding Athens’ reluctance to accept outside help”.
According to the british newspaper, several European ministers and senior European officials view the threat to evict Greece for “serious shortcomings” in border control as the only way left to convince Alexis Tsipras to deliver on his promises and to accept the EU offer for help.
“The European Commission this month will propose the creation of a common border control team with the power to take over the border, possibly even against the wishes of countries which are at the external borders of the EU, such as Greece”, said the report, adding:
The relatively weak public administration in Greece has been tested with more than 700,000 immigrants who crossed the border this year.
Given the severity of the crisis European officials are enraged by the refusal of Athens to call for a special mission of Frontex, the European border service, the reluctance to accept humanitarian aid from the EU and the failure to improve the registration system of refugees.
The EU interior ministers, who meet Friday, will make it clear that more drastic measures will be considered if Greece fails to take action before EU summit in mid-December, according to four senior European diplomats.
The warning of a “suspension of participation” has been repeatedly given to Greece this week, including the visit to Athens of Jean Asselborn, Foreign Minister of Luxemburg, the country that now has the rotating presidency of the EU”.
The Financial Times also noted that “Athens has recently rejected the deployment of 400 Frontex personnel to directly strengthen the border with FYROM, complaining in a letter to the European Commission that their orders were “too broad” and exceeded registration.
“Greek officials have not yet accepted the invitation to invoke an aid status – the Civil Protection Mechanism of the EU – which will provide humanitarian assistance to the islands and border areas…
…Greece has also refused to take on many of the 300 available eurodac machines for the fingerprinting and registration of refugees in the single EU database, citing problems with Internet connections and staff training …Diplomats of the EU complain that Greece has not fulfilled its promise to organise three flights for the resettling of refugees in other Member States. Partly due to registration problems in Greece, only 159 refugees from the 160,000 who have been cleared have resettled in Europe”, is mentioned in the Financial Times.
In the same article “the leaders of the countries of Eastern Europe are the toughest critics of Greece”, while “Berlin has so far resisted the prospect to request suspension or expulsion of Greece from Schengen. But in the background, there is growing concern in Austria and Germany, who have both thought of sending envoys to Greece to support efforts to tackle the refugee crisis, according to official with knowledge of the plans.
“The red line for the Germans was the fact that Frontex was not allowed to come to help them”, said the EU Ambassador in Brussels. “The Germans are angry and that is why people speak in favour of Greece’s exit”.
“The European Commission”, concludes the article, “will proceed with an oral briefing on the situation of Greece at the meeting of EU interior ministers on Friday, which will be accompanied by a written evaluation in the meeting of EU leaders in mid-December.
If there are still serious shortcomings, Athens has been warned that EU leaders may ask the European Commission to begin procedures to suspend its participation, leading to an inspection of the border of Greece that can hold up to three months”.