Immigration: Avramopoulos says no to Europe as a fortress

Future EU commissioner calls for boosted Frontex

01 October, 11:47

    EU Commissioner-designate for Migration and Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos, during his hearing by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, at the European Parliament in Brussels EU Commissioner-designate for Migration and Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos, during his hearing by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, at the European Parliament in Brussels

    (by Patrizia Antonini) (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS - ''No to Europe as a fortress'' was the statement used by the future EU commissioner in charge of immigration and home affairs, Greece's Dimitris Avramopolous, to define his political stance before European MPS from the civil liberties commission during a tree-hour session.

    The commissioner, the first in the history of the Union to have a portfolio dedicated to migration, gave the speech as part of mandatory steps for his confirmation, to be voted after the necessary evaluations in a plenary session of the EU Parliament on October 22.

    Replying to 45 questions, Avramopoulos outlined his priorities: boosting Frontex both in terms of resources and for a mission aimed ''not just at patrolling borders but also at saving human lives''; revision of Dublin's regulations to increase ''solidarity''; full implementation of the package on asylum policies without exceptions or short cuts; strong work to attain a ''homogeneous fabric of rules for a policy of legal immigration'' in ''close cooperation'' with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

    He defended himself easily from questions by Five-Star Movement (M5S) MP Laura Ferrara and Tsipras List deputy Barbara Spinelli, who blamed him for ''praises'' expressed when the Papandreou government erected a barrier with barbed wire at the Greek border with Turkey to deal with migrants. He spoke about a "caricature" when the head of the M5S delegation Ignazio Corrao questioned him over a photo posted to websites portraying him close to the Turkish border with a machine gun.

    Overall, the audition convinced European Socialists.

    In particular, S&D Tanja Fajon welcomed Avramopoulos' statement against Europe as a fortress.

    Amnesty International also expressed a positive opinion.

    ''We think he took a few important steps and is going in the right political direction, although everything will need to be examined in detail'', said the EU delegation.

    But Amnesty, which presented in Brussels a report on the record number of deaths at sea in 2014 - an estimated 2,500 as of September 15 - opposes the replacement of Italy's Mare Nostrum surveillance-and-rescue program with the Triton operation. ''We are strongly concerned because an operation that is working out means to shut down while Frontex plus, or Triton as it will be called, does not have the requisites to confront the situation, for the time being'', said Matteo de Bellis of Amnesty Europe.

    According to the NGO, in order for Frontex plus to be effective, it should patrol international waters of the central Mediterranean, with more manpower and means provided by member States and a clear mandate to save human lives.(ANSAmed).

    © Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved

    Business opportunities

    The information system of business
    opportunities abroad

    News from Mediterranean