Tuesday

23rd Jan 2018

Slovenia calls for better protection of Greek border

  • Refugees are arriving in Greece at a higher rate, the UN says (Photo: Amnesty International)

Slovenia on Thursday (22 October) called for the better protection of the EU's external borders in Greece, and asked Brussels for financial help to manage the influx of people seeking asylum.

“Greece is that country of the EU though which the migrants are arriving in greater numbers, completely uncontrolled,” Vesna Györkös Znidar, Slovenia’s interior minster, said after hosting Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The minister said that the deployment of a unit from Frontex, the EU's border agency, is welcome, but will not resolve the underlying problem.

“It has to be tackled at the source, meaning at the Croatian and Greek border,” Györkös Znidar said, adding that Frontex units should be urgently dispatched to the Croatian and Greek frontiers.

In the last five days, since Hungary sealed its border with Croatia making migrants take a detour towards Slovenia on their way to Austria and Germany, 43,000 people have arrived in Slovenia, 12,600 in the last 24 hours, according to the interior minister.

Slovenia is also asking for financial help from the EU as it says housing, feeding, and health care costs associated with the refugees add up €770,000 daily.

Avramopoulos said existing EU funds can help Slovenia and its neighbors, and noted that the ex-Yugoslav republic is slated to receive €56 million until 2020 for security and migration challenges. He said more emergency funding is available if needed.

Greece under pressure

Countries along the Balkan migrant route have been calling for better protection of the EU’s external border in Greece.

According to UN’s refugee agency over half a million migrants reached Greece so far this year, and the arrival rate is rising.

Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban urged other EU leaders at last week’s summit to send forces to protect Greece’s border with Turkey.

For his part, Avramopoulos, who previously served as foreign minister of Greece, argued, without naming his home country, that EU member states were caught off guard by the huge wave of migrants and refugees arriving to Europe this year.

“Since then everybody started to get organised,” he added.

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker last week urged Athens to agree to joint sea patrols with Turkey. “It’s a European issue, it’s not an issue of Greek-Turkish relations,” he said.

Juncker has invited the leaders of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia for Sunday to coordinate efforts on the Balkan route.

The commission is drawing up a list of measures that the countries could take quickly, as of next Monday, to alleviate the pressure on the states along the refugee route, an EU official said.

They could range from humanitarian efforts, like shelters, to better coordination of border management.

The initiative also seeks to avoid further unilateral action by countries in the region, like Hungary, which has, in recent months, closed its border with Serbia and Croatia.

Volunteers ask for EU action

In an open letter to the governments of Europe, volunteers working with migrants and refugees on the ground have urged the EU to provide more humanitarian help to refugees and create a safe passage to the EU.

The dozens of volunteer groups from Sweden to Serbia say that if conditions do not improve, refugees could die in the winter cold.

“We do not want to see a single refugee dying while waiting in endless queues at European borders, literally in our own hands,” their letter said, explaining that current capacities of volunteer-based help sites are “seriously challenged”.

They note that their efforts have been in some areas “completely replacing the absent government facilities and aid”.

Macron eyes France-UK border agreement

French president Macron wants the UK to take in more refugees as he revisits the 2003 Le Touquet agreement, which allows British border controls to take place inside French territory.

Magazine

The asylum files: deadlock and dead-ends

The EU is reforming a number of internal asylum laws, but lack of staff, politics, and the sheer complexity of the bills means deadlines - like those announced by EU council chief Tusk - are likely to come and go.

News in Brief

  1. Belgium lowers terror alert level
  2. France, Spain set to gain seats in post-Brexit EU parliament
  3. Orban family probed over 'fraudulent' EU projects
  4. Spanish judge rejects Puigdemont arrest warrant
  5. Austria plans to sue Commission over Hungary's nuclear plant
  6. Puigdemont proposed as sole candidate for Catalan leadership
  7. Abbas in Brussels to discuss Palestinian state recognition
  8. Exiled Catalan leader leaves Belgium for first time

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. EU stands by Palestine on Jerusalem
  2. MEPs may bar killer robots and drones from EU research cash
  3. Europe's social democrats are having a hard time
  4. How Oettinger's CO2 permit sale could fill Brexit blackhole
  5. New Polish foreign minister tries to charm EU commission
  6. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on agenda This WEEK
  7. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  8. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  2. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  3. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  4. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  5. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  6. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  7. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  8. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  10. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  12. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap