Saturday

26th May 2018

EU must step up migrant relocation, say Italy and Greece

  • A camp in Greece. (Photo: © European Union 2016 - European Parliament)

Greece has urged EU member states to step up the relocation of migrants within the bloc and Italy has encouraged others to follow Germany's lead and accept more refugees.

“At the moment we have 7,000 people ready to be relocated and no answers from the EU member states obliged to accept them,” Greek migration minister Yannis Mouzalas told journalists on Tuesday (23 August).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He said Greek officials would tour EU capitals in September and ask that the EU “fulfils what has been agreed”.

Some 58,000 people are currently said to be stuck in Greece since its neighbours closed border crossings to migrants earlier this year.

Greece and Italy are the main arrival points for migrants. Since the beginning of the year more than 163,000 have arrived in Greece and 100,000 in Italy, UNHCR figures show.

Both countries are struggling to provide a proper reception. Mouzalas said the government plans to replace existing camps by Christmas.

The European Commission allocated €11 million in emergency funding to Greece and Italy in July.

EU member states are supposed to help the two countries with sharing responsibility for refugees under a relocation scheme proposed by the European Commission and adopted by member states last year.

Some 160,000 people have been earmarked for relocation, but by 22 August fewer than 4,000 had been moved.

Hungary and Slovakia have launched a legal challenge to the scheme.

Hungary will also hold a referendum on the matter later this autumn.

Slovakia, which currently chairs the EU council presidency, vowed to push down the EU agenda discussions on a reform of the so-called Dublin asylum system that would see fines imposed on countries that refuse to take refugees.

Czech Republic and Poland also refuse to cooperate, saying that national governments should be able to relocate refugees on a voluntary basis.

Czech Republic has so far relocated four people from Greece. Slovakia has taken three and Hungary and Poland have not taken any at all.

Meanwhile, Italy’s interior minister Angelino Alfano told La Repubblica TV on Tuesday that Germany had promised to take ”hundreds of refugees” each month in an effort to save the scheme.

He praised chancellor Angela Merkel for wanting to be on the "right side of history" in welcoming more than a million refugees, even if it might cost her votes.

"We must remember that Germany already took in more than one million migrants in 2015. If it also takes in some of our [refugees] ... the message will be extremely strong, because if Germany can do it, then so can all those who have not put in the huge effort that Germany already has," Alfano said.

Merkel will meet the prime ministers of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia on Friday, at a Visegrad summit in Warsaw.

EU urges countries to speed up migrant relocation

Out of the promised 160,000, EU countries have so far took in 1,145 refugees from Greece and Italy, as the EU commission warns of humaniatian crisis in Greece and the deterioration of the situation in Italy.

EU plans tougher asylum rules

Asylum seekers' applications to be rejected if they move around within the EU, under new asylum rules proposed by the EU Commission.

Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund

The European Commission wants to triple the amount of money for migration in the next EU budget. Earlier this week, EU agencies, NGOs, and the mayor of Athens gave their views at a European parliament public hearing.

Opinion

Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny

Most refugee-related services are outsourced to the private sector and NGOs, which are not adequately monitored and evaluated. When governments and EU institutions provide funding for refugee projects, they should scrutinise the NGOs and private players they work with.

Opinion

Calling time on European-Turkish strategic relations

With an Erdogan-Putin summit on Tuesday, joined by Iran on Wednesday, it is time for Europe to face facts - Turkey's ties with the West are no longer strategic. When Europe goes hither, Turkey deliberately goes thither.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach