Urgent measures to speed up proceedings and ensure the immediate relocation of refugees from Greece to other EU Member States

30 March 2016
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Notis Marias (ECR)

In September 2015, the Council of the European Union decided to relocate 66 400 refugees from Greece to other EU Member States. However, it appears that only 569 of them had actually been relocated up 15 March 2016.

According to Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner responsible for migration, home affairs and citizenship, a target of 6 000 relocations per month must be achieved, failing which the entire system will collapse.

Over 50 000 refugees and illegal immigrants are now stranded in Greece, effectively turning it into a dumping ground and causing major social and economic problems in a country already impoverished by memorandum demands.

Given that Greece is no longer in a position to accommodate any more refugees or irregular migrants, what urgent steps will the Commission take to accelerate the relocation of refugees from Greece to other EU Member States?

Source: European Parliament


Answer given by Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission

As part of its efforts to accelerate the implementation of the Council Decisions on relocation,(1) on 10 February 2016, the Commission sent administrative letters to the Member States of relocation calling for the acceleration of the relocation scheme, it has increased the frequency of the meetings of the Resettlement and Relocation Forum, the Friends of Hotspots and the Liaison Officers for relocation, and strengthened its support to Italy and particularly Greece.

On 16 March 2016 the Commission published its first report on relocation and resettlement(2) formulating recommendations to improve and accelerate relocation. Since then, the Commission adopted three monthly reports on relocation and resettlement(3) which show that while some signs of progress are present, overall progress falls far short of the rate of relocation the Commission would consider achievable including that of the target of 20 000 by 16 May 2016 which has not been reached.

In its last report, the Commission stressed that steps are underway to accelerate the process and this rate of relocation can be reached quickly if all stakeholders show willingness in making relocation work and act together swiftly. It therefore urges Member States to drastically increase their relocation efforts.

The Commission will continue reporting on a monthly basis and reserves the right to take action where Member States are not complying with their obligations.

(1) Council Decision (EU) 2015/1523 of 14.9.2015 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece; Council Decision (EU) 2015/1601 of 22.9.2015 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece.
(2) COM(2016)0165 final.
(3) COM(2016)0222 final; COM(2016)0360 final; COM(2016)0416 final.

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