The European Commission has issued a warning to EU member states that continue to refuse the relocation to eligible migrants who are currently stranded in Greece and Italy.
Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos did not hesitate to name the member states that are not implementing what was agreed back in 2015, targeting particular Hungary and Poland.
Both countries have been singled out as the only EU members not to have relocated any refugees of the 160,000 target that should be reached by September 2017. But this has not stopped Avramopoulos from being confident that the target is feasible.
“We have 18,000 relocations and 70% of resettlement complete,” said Avramopoulos. “This shows what political will and determination can achieve results. It is totally eligible to relocate all eligible people from Greece and Italy by September.”
Avramopoulos underlined on May 17 that the European Commission is ready to intervene soon. “If no action is taken within a month, I will have to act on my side and take, I would say, legal measures,” said Avramopoulos. Non-complying member states have until June to start accepting refugees.
In the process, Avramopoulos also said that Austria’s Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka had announced he would begin the resettlement from Italy.
Furthermore, Ireland and Estonia should agree on acceptable admission procedures with Italy, as the Netherlands and France have successfully achieved, along with Greece, according to the Commissioner. “There should be no operational reasons to avoid resettlement,” added the Commissioner.
Some 12,400 people are currently in Greece in a position to be resettled, while 2,500 are in Italy.
“Seven hundred more are to be registered soon,” added Avramopoulos, who noted there are more than 1,100 Eritreans still to be registered for relocation.