EU’s migration system close to ‘complete breakdown’
The EU’s migration system is on the point of complete breakdown, according to a top European Commission official.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Commissioner for migration, issued the stark warning after a meeting between EU interior ministers on Thursday.
“In the next ten days, we need tangible and clear results on the ground, otherwise there is a danger, there is a risk that the whole system will completely break down. There is no time for uncoordinated actions,” he told reporters in Br…
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The 28-member bloc’s Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos made the stark warning as ministers from EU and Balkan nations met in Brussels to try and heal rifts over migrants that have plunged common policy into chaos, writes Daily Express.
Austria, Serbia and Macedonia have taken their own steps to limit entry to migrants, which unravels the continent’s free-travel Schengen zone.
Greece have expressed fears that extra controls will cause a bottleneck and has said it can no longer wave the tide of arrivals from Turkey onward through the Balkans.
More states said they would follow suit in tightening controls unless a deal promising Turkey 3 billion euros in help to house refugees from the Syrian war in return for preventing them travelling on to Europe was agreed.
Officials now plan to stem the issue by March 7.
In a major U-turn, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said: ”By March 7, we want a significant reduction in the number of refugees at the border between Turkey and Greece.”
Klaas Dijkhoff, migration minister for the Netherlands, added: “The 7th of March is when you can expect the spring influx to rise. We have until that time to find solutions that mostly involve the Greek-Turkish influx, the border there.”
“If that doesn’t lead to lower numbers, we’ll have to find other measures and we’ll have to do more contingency planning. That’s a very crucial date to see to what extent we succeed in lowering the influx towards Europe as a whole, or we have to take other measures.”
A video clip showing Belgium turning back refugees and migrants at its French border.
Germany has been pushing for the Turkey plan but many other EU states have become increasingly frustrated.
More than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa reached Europe least year, most of them coming from Turkey via Greece.
Another 110,000 have arrived on the continent this year, and the pace is set to increase as improving weather encourages more people to try the perilous trip across the Mediterranean.
Belgium yesterday dumped the free movement policy by sending armed guards to patrol border checkpoints, leaving the Schengen passport-free zone in ruins.
Officials fear thousands of migrants could cross into the country as camps in France are cleared after the EU state deployed major border controls – including 300 officers, a helicopter and mounted police.
Checks were installed on the Belgium-France border in November following the atrocities in Paris which left 130 people dead.