EU urges Greece to secure bloc’s external border

European Union urges Greece to tighten measures on bloc's external frontiers and keep flow of refugees under control

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos

The European Union on Tuesday proposed for Greece to take necessary measures to control and protect the bloc’s external border from the large influx of refugees entering the region. 

The European Commission adopted a draft report published last week that said Greece had failed to protect the EU's borders.

The EU urged Greece to better conduct registration processes as well as thoroughly check refugee’s documents through several databases making sure they have collected their fingerprints.

The EU's executive arm said that Greece should provide refugees proper housing, deport those who do not hold a refugee status and improve border surveillance.

"Border surveillance should be improved, including the establishment of a risk analysis system and increased training of border guards," the Commission said.

If Greece fails to comply with the recommendations, Brussels could authorise EU member countries to exceptionally extend border controls within the Schengen area -- including with Greece -- for up to two years.

The Schengen area allows passport-free travel through 26 countries, most of them in the European Union, and is held up as one of the major European achievements.

"Our ability to maintain an area free of internal border controls depends on our ability to effectively manage our external borders," EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said in a statement.

"Today we are proposing a set of recommendations to ensure that, at all external borders of Greece, controls are carried out and brought in line with Schengen rules," he said. "We will only save Schengen by applying Schengen."

As the draft states, Greece could be out of the Schengen passport-free zone if it fails to control the issue of the extensive number of refugees coming into the main gateway country that took in one million refugees trying to pass to other European countries.

An inspection on several Aegean islands as well as at the Turkish land border showed that Greece has not managed the register process properly.

The Greek government said that it will act on better controlling the refugees coming into the country and will fulfill EU’s suggestions.

"We have decided with the defence ministry, which had already managed the migrant influx, to reinforce the effort" to finish the facilities for refugees, government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili told a press briefing.

Gerovassili added that Greece had indeed failed to meet the registration requirements due to "financial and administrative problems," but hey would be ready "in the time period agreed" with the EU.