EU Gives Greece 3 Months to Improve Control of Migrant Influx

World » EU | February 12, 2016, Friday // 17:37
Bulgaria: EU Gives Greece 3 Months to Improve Control of Migrant Influx Refugees and migrants disembark from a ferry at the port of Piraeus coming from the island of Lesvos, Greece, 10 February 2016. Photo EPA/BGNES

EU member states on Friday gave Greece three months to remedy "serious deficiencies" in controlling the migrant influx or effectively face suspension from Europe’s Schengen zone of passport-free travel, AFP reported.

The decision was taken by the EU ministerial council over objections of Greece, which is the main gateway for the million of refugees and migrants who entered Europe last year.

“The action recommended covers areas such as registration procedures, sea border surveillance, border check procedures, risk analyses, human resources and training, infrastructure and equipment and international cooperation,” the European Council said in a statement.

Ten days ago, the European Commission said in a draft report that Greece had "seriously neglected" its obligations to control the external frontier of Schengen zone.

The report found that Greece had failed to properly register, check  and fingerprint migrants during inspections at the Turkish land border and several islands in the Aegean Sea last November.

Friday’s decision gives Greece three months to enact 50 recommendations to tighten border control. If Greece fails to remedy the deficiencies, the European Commission may activate a procedure provided for in the Schengen Borders Code that allows EU member states to reimpose controls on internal frontiers for up to two years as a matter of last resort.

Several EU members such as Austria and Hungary have already introduced temporary border controls, as passport-free travel in Schengen zone comes under increased strain.

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Tags: greece, European Council, migrants, refugeees, Schengen, border, EU, europe, European Commission
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