Even as the process of relocating refugees from Greece and Italy to other European Union member-states as part of an EU program proceeds very slowly, the European Commission on Wednesday called on Greece to improve its implementation of the so-called Dublin Regulation which stipulates that migrants who have traveled on to other countries in the bloc via Greece be returned to Greece.
In its latest progress report on the EU’s emergency relocation and resettlement schemes, the Commission noted on Wednesday that the number of relocations has increased to 2,280, with the rate having almost doubled since mid-May.
However, it noted that “despite these positive signs, progress is still too slow.” “Action must be accelerated to avoid migrants returning to irregular routes,” the report said.
“As numbers of arrivals in Greece have gone down, the absolute onus now lies on significantly increasing and speeding up relocations,” said European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos.
Last month just 780 migrants were relocated to other EU member-states from Greece and Italy, way below the monthly target of 6,000.
The reasons for the slow rate of relocations are twofold, the report said: firstly, an absence of adequate infrastructure, particularly in Greece, where some 49,000 migrants are in state reception facilities awaiting registration, and secondly, a reluctance by other member-states to shoulder the burden of accommodating refugees.
The Commission also prodded Greece to enforce the Dublin Regulation, according to which migrants must lodge asylum applications in the first EU country they enter.
It said Greece is making progress in enforcing the law but still has work to do.