EU borders will not close, says EU Commissioner Avramopoulos

25 January 2016
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“There is no closing EU borders issue” clarified European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos in an interview with private TV MEGA noting that Greece is not alone in the crisis management of the refugees issue.

“The countries must assume their responsibilities. If Schengen collapses then the whole European construction will start collapsing” stated Avramopoulos underlining that a discussion on Schengen will not open.

The Commissioner said that a large number of countries criticise Greece on the delays in the construction of the hotspots “According to government’s commitments there will be joint staff in five entrance gates that will evaluate each case independently and will give the data they collect to the European authorities to use them for the relocation process. If all these had been done from the beginning we would not have come across last summer’s incidents” he said and clarified that Europe supports Greece. “Greece is moving fast in the last period” he said and reminded that in four weeks at the EU Summit, the Greek government must present what it has done. “At this moment and under the pressure of the crisis that Europe is facing, we all have huge responsibilities to safeguard this achievement” he noted.

Referring to Turkey, Avramopoulos stressed that the agreement signed between Greece and Turkey is not respected and expressed the hope that after the signing of Turkey’s agreement with EU this will change.

The Greek Commissioner said that EU has declared ‘war’on the human traffickers and presented the action plan with aim to intercept the refugees influx “If this happens, the pressure on Greece will lessen” he said and referred to the establishment of a joint coast guard and border guard service that will be composed by members and infrastructures from all EU state-members. “They are not enemies that break in but humans and refugees. Those said on joint Greek-Turkish patrol was never on the table. Cooperation exists between the Greek and Turkish coast guards in order to save people. This goes without saying” stated Avramopoulos expressing also his concern over the racist voices in Europe.

“The rise of extreme xenophobic nationalist movements is a very alarming phenomenon; they are gaining ground because they take advantage of the crisis. The answer is a structured holistic policy for all issues concerning the people and the citizens. This century will be called the century of the human displacement. The international community must stand before this phenomenon with policies. Europe does what it has to do. In six months it adopted two policies on safety and migration. It lies to the country-members which have the exclusive responsibility for their implementation. They are playing with the domestic political agenda for their own benefit. If we do not protect the European institutions, if the member-states are not forced to implement the policies and do not stop to accuse one another, we are here, we have the way to do it” was Avramopoulos’ message.

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