Decongest Greek islands and relocate refugees: EU Commissioner

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Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with fellow Greek, EU Commissioner Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos to discuss the migration crisis and relocation issues relating to other EU member states.

During their meeting Avramopoulos said he invited all member-states to support relocation from Greece and Italy and called for an agreement on his proposal to reform the Dublin Regulation. “The revision of the Common European Asylum System is the only solution for a fair and efficient system that will withstand possible future crises,” he said.

The Greek PM acknowledged the support he has received from the EU on the issue and reiterated that the country’s border is Europe’s border.

“Our country is on the frontline,” he said, adding that the crisis does not only concern the countries of first reception but Europe as a whole.

EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos praised Greece’s contribution to the handling of the migration crisis and added that” If the Schengen zone collapses that will be the beginning of the end of Europe,” he warned, noting the existence of “some worrying trends”.

“The situation in Greece has clearly improved compered to two years ago, with everyone’s coordinated efforts: the Commission, the member-states and of course the Greek authorities. But we must remain in alert,” he said, adding that the Commission will continue to support Greece in every way it can.

Avramopoulos also expressed his concern for the living conditions of refugees ahead of winter.

“The reception conditions for migrants must be kept at consistently high standards. Winter is coming and all migrants must be housed in dignified conditions that protect them from the cold. The decongestion of the islands will contribute to this, and this is why the procedures for implementing the EU-Turkey deal must be speeded up,” he said.

“Also, the acceleration of the procedure on the islands, as foreseen by the deal, will break up the business model of traffickers who continue to exploit human lives.”

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.