Effectively managing the pressure of migratory flows on the shared external Schengen border requires both responsibility and solidarity by all Member States. When it comes to common external borders which are under particular pressure, it is of crucial importance that two key measures are fully implemented: the ‘hotspot’ approach and the relocation scheme – with the fingerprinting of all migrants, the prompt selection and relocation of asylum applicants and establishment of adequate reception capacities. The other essential component is action to secure swift return, voluntary or forced, of people not in need of international protection and who do not therefore qualify for relocation.
With the support of the European Commission, the delivery of fully operational hotspots in all identified locations is improving steadily, but Greece must take the necessary actions as soon as possible to complete what remains to be done. The Commission will continue to support the efforts of the Greek authorities and measure the progress made and continue to call for the intensification of efforts in this regard.
880,000 people have arrived in Greece since the beginning of 2015. The scale is immense and the Commission is working very closely with the Greek authorities to assist them in this challenge.
A dedicated Commission team working under the leadership of the Commission’s Director-General of the Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) has been on the ground for months, working hand in hand with the Greek authorities, including to accelerate access to emergency funding, improve the coordination between the various actors, address administrative bottlenecks and facilitate knowledge sharing on border management and relocation.
The Commission contributed to the launch of the UNHCR rental scheme on 14 December, to provide 20,000 reception places for asylum seekers in Greece. The Commission 880,000 is providing €80 million from the 2016 EU budget.