Comprehensive approach needed to refugee crisis

11 November 2015
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EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday referred to the significant progress made on the refugee issue at the extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council, held in Brussels.

Avramopoulos briefed the ministers on the progress made on the implementation of the 17-point action plan that was agreed at the Western Balkans’ route summit and spoke particularly of the weekly contact point video conferences and a monitoring system for the flows.

The deployment of 400 police officers to Slovenia is also underway, he stated and added: “So far, member states pledged a total of 250 officers by mid-November, with 33 already deployed in the country, 40 officers on their way by the end of the week and further 177 within the next ten days.”

Needs assessments by all concerned member states will also be finalised in the coming days, he added.

“We are now counting on countries along the route to increase reception capacities to reach the 100.000 places,” Avramopoulos underlined.

Regarding the hotspot approach and the relocation system, he said that an important start has been made. “The hotspot in Lampedusa is now in place. The others will follow. We have already relocated the 147 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece.”

However, he said that this is not enough. “It is time to shift gears and start delivering on all fronts.”

“On relocation, we need to move from the dozens to the hundreds if we want to make sure that this scheme will work properly. And the rest of the hotspots still need to be implemented by the end of November.”

Avramopoulos stressed that in order to speed up the process, the Commission will deploy support officers to Greece and four to Italy in the coming days.

Securing the EU’s external borders, he stated, is one of the four pillars of the European Agenda on Migration. “We will do so by strengthening the role of Frontex and by developing EU-wide standards, and we will also table a proposal for a European Border and Coast Guard by the end of the year.

“Our ongoing evaluation of the Dublin system, and the results of the implementation of the relocation mechanisms will feed into the revision of the Dublin mechanism next spring. But I also hope that we can move forward on the proposals for a structural relocation mechanism,” Avramopoulos noted, adding that the Commission is also looking forward to further discussions with the member states on the proposal for an EU list of safe countries of origin.

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