‘We are doing whatever we can to support the Greek authorities’, says Avramopoulos
European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos is to carry out an official visit to Greece next week to meet new ministers that joined the government during a recent cabinet reshuffle, as well as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Avramopoulos announced his visit on Thursday, during a press conference to present the Commission’s proposals for reinforcing the European border and coast guard agency Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
Replying to questions about conditions on the Greek islands and especially at the Moria hotspot, Avramopoulos said the Commission has repeated voiced its concerns about the situation in Moria and said that this needs to be tackled urgently.
“We are doing whatever we can to support the Greek authorities, both on an operational and on a financial level, in order to improve conditions of reception,” Avramopoulos said, noting that the hotspots on the islands were “full” and this had an impact on living conditions.
He pointed out that Greece has received close to 1.6 billion euros to assist in the handling of migration flows, a sum allocated and monitored by the Greek government, and that the main thing was to have results, though acknowledging that the islands “make the situation difficult” and that the key factor for success was to implement the EU-Turkey agreement.
“Next week I will have official meetings with the Greek government so that we can move forward, rising to the challenge of better managing migration with full respect for fundamental rights and upholding international and European law,” he said.
Regarding the Commission’s proposals, he said the role of EASO and Frontex will be significantly upgraded and their budget increased “so that there is more Europe where more Europe is needed.”
“We are not proposing the militarisation of the EU but more effective management of the external borders while preserving the values of an open and hospitable Europe,” he added.