European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, sees progress in the area of migration and, at the same time, has warned against fake news regarding the European elections.
Avramopoulos underlined that “one has to distinguish between reality and fairy tales,” adding that the migratory pressure in Greece has fallen from 18,000 arrivals per day in 2015 to just 81 in 2018.
“The days when hundreds of people were coming by sea to Greece and Italy are behind us. Irregular arrivals are now lower than before the crisis, but we are continuing to work the on migration issue,” Avramopoulos added, while also saying that the Commission is monitoring the situation in Spain as well as all of the countries that are under pressure to deal with the migrant issue.
Despite progress in the migrant crisis, the EU should not sit back as Spain remains under the greatest migration pressure, Avramopoulos said, while adding that Brussels has offered €36 million in assistance and continues to provide financial and political support to Spain.
According to Avramopoulos, overcrowding in the migrant camps on the Greek islands remains a big problem and reaffirmed the need for solidarity among all EU countries to handle incoming migrants. Avramopoulos said the bloc needs to strengthen its relationship with the Moroccan government by providing assurances that the EU wants to develop a “closer, deeper and more ambitious partnership” with Morocco.
As for Greece has seen the situation with the migrant flow taper off after what, according to Avramopoulos suggested, was an “effective national strategy that was put in place by national authorities”.
He went on to suggest that Athens needs to speed up the asylum request procedures and work on improving the sort of accommodation that the Greek government provides to minors.
“The Greek authorities are responsible for the overall migration management. We (the Commission) should continue supporting them operationally and financially,” Avramopoulos added, while also expressing his opinion of the importance of external border management and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
“External borders are better managed and protected than ever before. We want to help and support the Member States in securing our external borders. No matter how secure and protected our external borders are, Europe still needs to better manage migration within Europe, both regular and irregular migration”.
Avramopoulos also said that the EU needs to stop secondary movements and finalise the reform of the joint European asylum system.
“Promises were made already, further steps should be taken. We will continue working closely with the EU parliament and the Council,” added Avramopoulos. “What we need is political will…The experiences early this year showed that we need solid and predictable coordination and financial support from the EU budget. Most importantly, we need as many Member States as possible to participate.”
The risk of instability will keep migration at the top of the political agenda, according to Avramopoulos. “No country can do this alone. Everybody should understand this in Europe,” he said, adding, “We cannot focus on just one type of action. We need to work on all fronts, together, and at the same time”.