The European Commission presented on Wednesday the immediate measures the Union will put into force in order to assist Greece due to the extraordinary situation along its external borders with Turkey.
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, said ”In these extraordinary circumstances, the first priority is to ensure order at our external border. This difficult task cannot fall on Greece alone: it is the responsibility of the whole of Europe.
“We have to show unequivocally that the entire European Union will put its strength and support behind Member States faced with external pressure,” Schinas added.
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) March 4, 2020
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson added that ”The measures …are based on our increased ability to deliver practical support, be it experts or equipment. Our focus is making sure that a short-term political crisis does not turn into a long-term humanitarian one.
“We need to stand by our values and put in place structural solutions to long-term problems. I would like to renew our political call on Member States to show solidarity with Greece, also in the form of finding solutions for the unaccompanied minors in the islands,” Johansson concluded.
The European Union officials said that in addition to granting the immediate assistance for Greece, the Union is also closely monitoring the situation in Bulgaria and Cyprus.
Below is an overview of the specific measures as described by Schinas and Johansson today.
- Member States to provide the assets needed for the launch of two rapid border intervention operations by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) at the land and sea borders between Greece and Turkey.
- Frontex to coordinate a new return program for the quick return from Greece to country of origin of persons without the right to stay.
- Financial assistance of up to €700 million will be provided to Greece. €350 million is immediately available to support border and migration management, in particular to support increased reception capacity, voluntary returns and the infrastructure needed to carry out screening procedures for health and security. The Commission will propose an amended budget to make a further €350 million available.
- Member States will respond to the Civil Protection Mechanism call triggered by Greece to provide medical equipment, shelters, tents, blankets, and other necessary supplies.
- Member States will respond to the call by the European Asylum Support Office to provide 160 experts to be deployed to Greece.