EU Calls for Urgent Solution to Migration Crisis to Prevent Schengen Collapse

EU | February 25, 2016, Thursday // 22:56|  views

Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship speaks during a press conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 10 February 2016. Photo EPA/BGNES

The EU needs “tangible and clear results on the ground” in the next 10 days to find a solution to the migration crisis, Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said after a meeting of EU justice and home affairs ministers in Brussels on Thursday.

"Otherwise there is a danger, there is a risk that the whole system will completely break down," Avramopoulos told the media.

Faced with increased migratory pressure, several countries within the Schengen zone have reintroduced checks at their internal borders since late 2015 in a move that threatens to destroy the EU’s area of passport-free travel.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that by March 7, the EU would like to see“a significant reduction in the number of refugees at the border between Turkey and Greece."

"Otherwise, there will have to be other joint, coordinated European measures," de Maiziere added.

EU leaders will hold talks with Turkey on March 7 and their own summit on migration on March 18-19 before improving weather conditions allow for a rise in the number of migrant arrivals from Turkey to Greece across the Mediterranean.

The ministers discussed the current migratory situation, including the monitoring of  implementation of the measures already agreed at recent EU meetings on the migration issue.

Particular attention was devoted to current developments on the Western Balkans route. A working breakfast took place in the margins of Thursday's Council with those member states most concerned and the ministers of non-EU Macedonia and Serbia. The Council said in a statement that it examined measures to prepare for the possible humanitarian consequences of the unilateral adoption of border controls.

Over lunch, ministers discussed cooperation with Turkey in the presence of the Turkish Deputy Minister of Interior.

Dutch Migration Minister Klaas Dijkhoff has said, as quoted in the statement: "We can solve this crisis if all member states are ready to work together, as well as work with the countries on the Western Balkan route and with Turkey. Today we confirmed again the importance of cooperating with each other through the exchange of information, by implementing what has already been agreed, and by assisting each other to do so."

The Council also said that it agreed its negotiating position on the proposed regulation to reinforce checks against relevant databases at the EU’s external borders. On the basis of this mandate, the Netherlands presidency will start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as the legislative body has adopted its position.

"Strengthening our common external borders by reinforcing border controls is an important means to fight terrorism and protect the safety of European citizens", Dijkhoff said.

The proposal obliges member states to carry out systematic checks on all persons, including persons enjoying the right of free movement under EU law (i.e. EU citizens and members of their families who are not EU citizens) when they cross the external border against databases on lost and stolen documents, as well as in order to verify that those persons do not represent a threat to public order and internal security. This obligation shall apply at all external borders (air, sea and land borders), both at entry and exit, according to the statement.

We need your support so can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!

Tags: EU, home affairs, justice, Council, Schengen, arrivals, greece, turkey, de Maiziere, Avramopoulos


» Related Articles: