Schengen: Avramopoulos sounds the alarm

Schengen: Avramopoulos sounds the alarm

Athens, December 3, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The seriousness of the situation facing Greece, especially after the warning that failure to improve the management of the Refugee crisis , will result in an exit from the Schengen Zone, stressed the Commissioner for Immigration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

In an exclusive statement to the daily “Kathimerini”, he explains that the timetable for Greece is clear, since until the Summit on December 17, the situation should be greatly improved.

He had to make – according to the article in Kathimerini – a dramatic intervention on the subject at the College of Commissioners, where the climate was heavy for Greece.

According to information, in Brussels there is the view that Greece does not respect its commitments and delays in their implementation.

Asked if there is indeed an issue of Greece’s exit from the Schengen Zone, he stressed that “the Schengen Treaty is founded on principles of solidarity and responsibility. Any attempt to question it, in essence puts these principles in question, but it does not benefit nor does it offer solutions”.

“The refugee crisis we face is unprecedented. And it does not only concern the first asylum or destination countries, but all of Europe. Despite the suffocating pressure on Greece, it is imperative to complete this effort that will give tangible results”, he added.

“The immediate and full implementation of the agreed measures in recent councils, both from Greece and from all the Member States will strengthen the security of maritime boundaries and will restore control in the northern border, where unidentified migrants try to continue their way to the north. The Greek government is aware of the need to speed up procedures on the basis of the agreed timelines”, he added.

What they ask of Greece

Greece has made commitments on a number of issues, mainly concerning the registration of those who enter the country and stopping their uncontrolled movement to other countries.

It has been agreed that FRONTEX should directly assist the country regarding the registration of those who arrive at the border with FYROM, without having been identified.

Greece should:

Submit a request directly to FRONTEX.

Activate the civil protection mechanism, through which it can address immediate humanitarian and medical needs of the islands.

At the same time, it has been asked the deployment of the RABIT team to assist in guarding the external borders on the islands, if the government decides upon it and submits the relevant request for assistance.

It must speed up:

Implementation and commissioning procedures of hotspots.

The completion of the recording process of incoming migrants by lodging an asylum claim, in order to be legally transferred to the EU member states.

The creation of the temporary hosting of agreed countries.

Cooperation Commission-Greece for the protection of the borders

“We all understand the difficult situation Greece is facing in guarding its external borders and want to help the Greek authorities”, said on Wednesday the vice president of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen.

Asked about Greece’s unwillingness to cooperate for guarding the borders and if that concern the European Commission, Katainen said that in the meeting of Commissioners there was no issue of an agreement between Schengen and Greece.

“I really hope that we can cooperate more closely with the Greek authorities to ensure the freedom of Europeans is maintained, and this will be made possible when we secure the guarding of the external borders”, he concluded.