- Title: EU -Turkey migrant agreement must continue at all costs - EU commissioner
- Date: 28th November 2016
- Summary: ATHENS, GREECE (NOVEMBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR MIGRATION, DIMITRIS AVRAMOPOULOS, WALKING TO PODIUM TO SPEAK DURING CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR MIGRATION, DIMITRIS AVRAMOPOULOS, SAYING: "The crisis we are all confronted with is far away from being over soon. It is a part not only of a major European problem but of a challenge of global dimensions." AVRAMOPOULOS SPEAKING AT PODIUM (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR MIGRATION, DIMITRIS AVRAMOPOULOS, SAYING: "I am glad that we have been recording a steady positive increase in the overall pace of relocation from both Greece and Italy during the last months. Almost 8,000 persons have been relocated both from Italy and Greece including more than 1,000 in the course of November. Having said that, an acceleration of relocation efforts is still needed, member states need to continue increasing their pledges for relocation and deliver on those swiftly." VARIOUS OF AVRAMOPOULOS SPEAKING WITH THE EUROPEAN ASYLUM SUPPORT OFFICE (EASO) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JOSE CARREIRA AVRAMOPOULOS ADDRESSING AUDIENCE WITH CARREIRA SITTING TO HIS RIGHT (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR MIGRATION, DIMITRIS AVRAMOPOULOS, SAYING: "I want to make an appeal from here in Athens towards the member states to send as soon as possible more experts to support the asylum evaluation procedure. On the other hand the statement between the European Union and Turkey continues to work - I would like once more to underline that this statement between the EU and Turkey must at all costs continue, it is a priority and we are all committed to this." CARREIRA SITTING AT TABLE ADDRESSING AUDIENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) EASO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JOSE CARREIRA, SAYING: "A crisis that is here to stay, we don't see an end to it. There are recent developments that are very worrying, but that is why we are here and that is why we work with Greece to address those." CARREIRA LISTENING TO REPORTER'S QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (English) EASO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JOSE CARREIRA, SAYING: "We are also here to help implement the EU-Turkey statement, which has been working so far very well." CARREIRA LISTENING TO QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (English) EASO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JOSE CARREIRA, SAYING: "The work on the ground has not changed, the way we are working over the last months, since the beginning of April, is exactly the same, so let's hope nothing happens contrary to that, and if something happens contrary to that, we will be here to respond together with the Greek government." CARREIRA LISTENING TO REPORTER'S QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (English) EASO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JOSE CARREIRA, SAYING: "It is true that we wish to have more than we have now - the 200 something. We could use 400 or even more people at the moment." CARREIRA AT TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (English) EASO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JOSE CARREIRA, SAYING: "There are security issues of course, because there is tension, but that does not stop us, it's not about increasing only the security, it's about processing faster, giving a faster response, a better response, so that the tension in the camps and the number of people in the camps, are diminishing." CARREIRA LISTENING TO QUESTION FROM REPORTER
- Embargoed: 13th December 2016 12:50
- Keywords: European Union refugees migrants Avramopoulos asylum Greece Italy
- Location: ATHENS, GREECE
- City: ATHENS, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ACZOSN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The European Union's commissioner for migration urged EU member states on Monday (November 28) to take more refugees and send more asylum experts to help with the processing of migrants in countries such as Greece, where tensions have escalated at overcrowded camps.
"The crisis we are all confronted with is far away from being over soon," EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said during a forum in Athens organised by the European Asylum Support Office.
He said an agreement between the bloc and Turkey to stem the flow of migrants to Europe must continue at "all costs".
Turkish President Tayyip has suggested he might scrap the deal to keep hundreds of thousands of migrants inside his borders in return for the promise of accelerated EU membership talks, visa-free travel for Turks in Europe and financial aid.
Last week, members of the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution to freeze talks on Turkey joining the bloc, as a protest against Ankara's crackdown on dissent after a failed coup in July.
Greece says it is overwhelmed by the number of asylum requests it has to handle and has often appealed for more personnel. There are more than 60,000 migrants in Greece, most of whom have applied for asylum. The sluggish process has sparked anger among the migrants and fires and riots have broken out in the cramped camps on the islands.
European Asylum Support Office (EASO) Executive Director Jose Carreira, whose organisation is responsible for processing asylum requests, said the migrants crisis was "here to stay." Carreira said the deal with Turkey was working well but if it fell through, a new plan to stem the flow would be devised.
The EASO director echoed the commissioner in saying the organisation, currently running at some 200 people, needed to double those numbers.
Last month EASO offices in a camp on the island of Lesbos were set on fire by migrants protesting against delays in processing asylum claims.
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