Frontex chief: manage borders or Schengen falls

EPA/STRATIS BALASKAS

Migrants and refugees arrive on a coast guard's boat to Mytilini, Lesvos Island, Greece, 02 February 2016.

Frontex chief: manage borders or Schengen falls


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If the EU border agency Frontex can’t manage to secure Europe’s outer borders, Schengen will collapse. This warning is coming from Fabrice Leggeri, who heads Frontex.

In an interview with Germany’s Spiegel Online, Leggeri stressed that Turkey needs to do more.

“Taking care of two million Syrian refugees is, of course, a burden for Turkey. I appreciate that. But if Ankara is going to demand sweeping concessions, such as a relaxation of visa requirements for its citizens, we Europeans should be able to expect more in return in the form of more stringent border controls,” he said.

According to Leggeri, Turkey should make life more difficult for the human-traffickers. “These are organised criminals we’re talking about,” he told Spiegel. “The Turkish police have the responsibility and the opportunity to put them out of business. At the very least, we expect Turkey to provide us with information: How many refugees can we expect? And where are they going to arrive?”

Frontex and the Greek coast guard rescued more than 100,000 refugees from rubber dinghies last year and brought them to Greece. And despite the bad weather, between as many as 3,000 people are arriving in Greece each day.

“We should have no illusions: As long as the bloodshed in Syria continues, refugees will keep coming,” he added.

Leggeri also said Greece recently requested more border guards to be stationed on the Greek side of the country’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). “But the purpose would be to register migrants, not to close the border,” he explained.

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