The EU Commission’s support measures to Greece were presented by Margaritis Schinas

5 March 2020
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A comprehensive package of measures to protect the Greek border, including the mobilization by FRONTEX of 100 additional border guards on top of the 530 that have been deployed already by the Member States and the deployment of one more airplane, one additional high-speed boat and three thermal camera-carrying vehicles, has been decided by the College of the Commissioners in Brussels.

The Vice President of the Commission, Margaritis Schinas, in an emergency press conference shortly afterwards, stressed that following the visit of the heads of the three European institutions yesterday to Evros and the Croatian Presidency, the EU sent a “loud message” to Greece which is faced with an “unprecedented challenge”.

Greece’s and Bulgaria’s borders with Turkey are European too, Schinas noted, noting that the Commission is also in touch with the Cypriot authorities.

The Action Plan to be approved by the Home Affairs Council, which will meet at 6 pm in the Belgian capital, also includes:

– Direct funding of 350 million Euros intended to support infrastructures related to the screening process for safety and medical care, with another 350 million Euros to follow immediately.

– The effort to restart the resettlement and financing of the return program.

“We are launching a protection policy for medical treatment. We called for the accelerated deployment of an additional 160 staff for asylum applications. We still need to strengthen regional cooperation with the countries of the Western Balkans, as the scenes of 2016 should not be repeated”, the European Commission Vice President said.

“We are able to prove that we can respond to situations when Europe itself is being tested as it is right now”.

Mr Schinas also noted that he and Commissioner Ilva Johansson “will present a new deal on asylum and immigration. Europe cannot fail twice”.

For her part, in the same interview, Mrs Johansson noted that the EU-Turkey Agreement should also be respected by Ankara, noting that “the situation is very worrying and many people have been given false promises and found themselves in front of the Greek borders. They are trapped in this situation. This humanitarian crisis should not take on greater dimensions”, Mr. Schinas added. It is important, he noted, “to show solidarity in Greece”.

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