Awash with waves of illegal immigrants, Greece is anxiously awaiting the details of a European Union plan to deal with the non-stop influx also hitting Italy.
European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos – a New Democracy member – will present the scheme to relocate about 40,000 refugees from the two countries who have complained of little help from the EU.
Avramopoulos returned home to Athens on May 26 to meet government officials and go over the plan. It was reported that 24,000 refugees from Italy and 16,000 from Greece will be relocated within the EU, although it wasn’t said where and if the other countries would accept them.
He said also that funding for the Frontex border agency would be tripled and that its regional office in Piraeus would not be moved to Italy, as some reports said.
“The relevant authorities of the European Commission and I stand ready to help Greece resolve any outstanding issues,” said Avramopoulos. “Europe is at Greece’s side and support will be immediate and effective.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is due in Brussels May 27, called on the EU to do more. “I’m urging European leaders to address this issue in a more comprehensive way and a collective way,” he said during a visit to Dublin.
The UN leader, who regularly issues press releases urging world leaders to do more for an array of causes, said that the EU should look at the “roots” of the problems in countries the immigrants are fleeing, mainly from the Middle East and Africa.