Greece will be looking with interest Wednesday at the news emerging from Brussels, where the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship is expected to announce a plan to relocate about 40,000 refugees from Italy and Greece.
Dimitris Avramopoulos was in Athens Tuesday for meetings with government officials to discuss the Commission’s plans for tackling irregular migration but did not reveal details of the relocation scheme. It is thought that 24,000 refugees from Italy and 16,000 from Greece will be relocated within the EU. The commissioner did, however, assure Greek officials 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 rumors suggested. “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 Wednesday, 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 Tuesday during a visit to Dublin, adding that any approach should also look at the “roots” of the problem in countries of origin.