Refugee Crisis: Commission Presents Borders Package and other measures

Yesterday, the European Commission has adopted a substantial package of new measures setting out a common approach to managing Europe’s external borders and preserving the security of the internal Schengen area of free movement. The Commission has also reported on progress made by Greece and Italy in implementing the Hotspot system, and the steps taken by countries on the Western Balkans’ routefollowing October’s Leaders Meeting. The Commission has also proposed a temporary suspension of Sweden’s obligations under the EU relocation scheme. Finally, the Commission has proposed a voluntary humanitarian admission scheme with Turkey. European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “In an area of free movement without internal borders, managing Europe’s external borders must be a shared responsibility. The crisis has exposed clear weaknesses and gaps in existing mechanisms aimed at making sure that EU standards are upheld. Therefore, it is now time to move to a truly integrated system of border management.” European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos added: “The current migration and security challenges know no borders, and require a truly European approach. Where Frontex used to be limited to supporting Member States in managing their external borders, the new Border Agency will go beyond this. What we are creating today is more Europe: to manage our external borders, to step up returns of irregular migrants, to allow our asylum system to function properly for those in need and to strengthen checks at the external borders of the European Union.” A recording of First Vice-President Timmermans’ and Commissioner Avramopoulos’ press conference can be found here.