NEWS

EU appeals for assets for Greece, Hungary migrant operations

eu-appeals-for-assets-for-greece-hungary-migrant-operations

The European Union appealed Friday to its member countries to live up to pledges to provide planes and other assets so that its border agency can cope with a migrant influx into Greece and Hungary.

EU leaders committed in April to triple the Frontex agency's budget and provide it with more assets as thousands of people fleeing conflict and poverty converged on Europe in search of better lives. More than 2,000 migrants have died this year crossing the Mediterranean.

“If we don't get these assets, it would seriously undermine Frontex's ability to carry out its operations,” EU migration spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said.

Many countries had pledged assets for short-term use, but Bertaud said more planes and “technical assistance” like personnel and patrol cars are needed for Greece and Hungary.

Frontex said Friday that almost 50,000 migrants arrived in the EU in July via Greece, compared to 41,700 in all of 2014. That currently makes it the most used entry point in Europe for migrants, the majority of who come from Syria and Afghanistan.

Frontex Deputy Executive Director Gil Arias Fernandez said the agency would struggle to help Greece and Hungary, where thousands have entered by land via Serbia this year, “unless we receive the necessary equipment.”

The border agency considers leasing private aircraft, but the EU wants nations to provide resources rather than dig into Frontex's budget.

The appeal is a fresh sign of Europes inability to manage the influx and share out refugees who arrive. It comes as incidents involving migrants on Frances border with Britain and Italy multiply and Hungary erects an anti-migrant fence.

Lead European parliamentarian on migration, Roberta Metsola, called for “a seismic shift” in EU thinking.

We cannot let history judge us as the generation who stood by and talked while people died,” she said.

[AP]