Greece Resorts to EU Crisis Management Tools to Cope with Migrant Influx

EU | December 4, 2015, Friday // 19:44|  views

Migrants await registration at a refugee camp set up in Moria, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, 04 December 2015.

Greece has activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to benefit from material support to help the country cope with the influx of refugees and asylum seekers at its borders, the European Commission said on Friday.

Greece has requested tents, generators, beds, sanitary equipment and emergency first aid kits.

“This voluntary delivery of aid is coordinated by the European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination centre which is working closely with the Greek authorities and the other participating states in the Mechanism for a swift response to the request,” the EU executive body said in a news release.

Greece has also agreed an operational plan with Frontex, under which the EU border agency will deploy additional officers on the country’s border with Macedonia to assist with the registration of migrants. The deployment will begin next week.

Another action taken by Greece on Friday is the submission to Frontex of a formal request to deploy a Rapid Border Intervention Team (RABIT) to provide immediate border guard support at the country’s external border in the Aegean islands.

Over 50,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Greece since 1 November. Arriving from Turkey on the Greek Aegean islands, the people try to reach countries in northern and western Europe by travelling through mainland Greece and the Western Balkan countries. 

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism can be activated by a Member State and countries outside the EU if they feel overwhelmed by a crisis. The mechanism was activated by Hungary and Serbia in September. Slovenia and Croatia activated the mechanism in October.

Member States can request the deployment of RABIT to provide immediate border guard support in cases of urgent or exceptional migratory pressure. This mechanism has only been activated once: in 2010, an operation at the Greek-Turkish border stabilised the situation and brought down the number of arrivals.

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Tags: greece, migrants, EU, European Commission, FRONTEX, RABIT, macedonia, migratory pressure, registration


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