EU calls on member states to step up to migration challenge

Brussels – European countries need to step up their efforts to bring migration under control, especially when it comes to securing the European Union’s external borders, the bloc’s executive said Wednesday.

The EU has ramped up its efforts to curb migration to the bloc after more than a million people arrived in 2015. Despite this, arrivals have risen in recent months along migration routes from Turkey in particular.

Less migrants since EU-Turkey deal

“The situation is still fragile and our work is far from over,” EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said, calling on member states to agree on reforms to the bloc’s asylum system. “We have absolutely no time to waste.”

More than 15,000 migrants have arrived from Turkey so far this year, the commission said, noting that crossings at the land border with Greece were nine times higher than during the same period in 2017.

Nonetheless, figures remain “drastically” lower than they were before the EU struck a migration-stemming deal with Turkey in 2015, the commission noted.

The European Border and Coast Guard has offered to reinforce its presence along the Turkish-Greek border, but is facing “persistent and significant gaps” in personnel and equipment, the commission said, noting that less than half of operational needs can be met.

EU member states are supposed to agree to proposed asylum reforms in time for a June summit. But the reforms are stuck in a dispute over the redistribution of refugees, amid fierce opposition from countries including Hungary and Poland.