Saturday

17th Apr 2021

EU calls for solidarity on migrant crisis

  • 'All governments must show responsibility', said Avramopoulos (Photo: European commission)

The EU commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, called, Friday (14 August), for EU member states to help fellow countries facing increased arrivals of migrants.

"We need the collective courage to follow through on our commitments. Even when they are not easy, even when they are not popular," he said at a press conference in Brussels.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"What is popular and unpopular has to do with domestic politics, but we must not give in to populism and xenophobia”.

"The EU must think and behave like a union. All governments must show responsibility," he added, without naming and shaming countries which do not do enough.

On Monday, the European Commission approved €2.4 billion over the 2014-2020 period to assist member states cope with the situation.

Avramopoulos repeated that Europe must "show solidarity and share responsibility" especially with Greece, his home country, where "almost 50,000 migrants arrived in July compared to less 6,000 last year for the same month".

The commissioner was in Athens on Thursday, where he participated in a cabinet meeting that discussed "a plan for how we can work together to address a problem that is not Greek [but] that is European".

He announced that, on top of the €474 million approved on Monday (10 August) through a regular national programme on border and asylum management, Greece will soon get €2.74 million of emergency assistance to support activities of the UN refugee agency.

In the coming days, Greece will also ask to benefit from the European civil protection mechanism.

Meanwhile, Avramopoulos called on member states "to pledge the assets needed for Frontex’ joint-operation, Poseidon, operating in the Aegean Sea without delay", and he reminded press that the 28 EU leaders have “unanimously committed to reinforcing the number of assets".

Hungary, where 35,000 migrants arrived in July from the Western Balkans, will also receive €8 million of emergency aid, Avramopoulos said.

The commission has, in addition, received an emergency funding request from Austria and is expecting one from France over the situation in Calais, where migrants try to enter the Channel Tunnel.

"Hungary has joined Italy and Greece as frontline member state," Avramopoulos said. But he criticized the country’s decision to build a wall to stop people crossing from Serbia.

"In Europe, we take down walls, we do not put new ones," he said, suggesting also that the same criticism applies for the fence installed around the Channel Tunnel entrances.

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us