Avramopoulos, possible EU legal action on relocations

'Disappointed by slowness and lack of political will'

03 May, 11:31

    EU Commissioner for Migration and Home affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos EU Commissioner for Migration and Home affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos

    BRUSSELS - "The decision to relocate is binding and Member States have a moral and legal obligation to do so. For now we haven't taken any legal steps - my persuasion methods have been political - but that doesn't mean that we won't," said EU Migrant and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos in an interview with ANSA. Avramopoulos said he is "disappointed" for the slow pace of relocations and the "lack of political will". 

    "Up to now there have been 1,441 people relocated from Italy and Greece. Of these, only 565 from Italy. Now that the arrivals in Italy are growing again, the number of relocations has to grow if we want to avoid a deterioration in the country," said  Avramopoulos. "Member States must understand that if they want to avoid secondary irregular and out of control movements, relocation is the only solution," he said. 

    "Managing the refugee crisis isn't just Italy or Greece's job. That's why we need to strengthen relocations from Italy here and now, but it's also why Italy must extend its policy on repatriation and its capacity for detention and reception,"  Avramopoulos added. "We must avoid the Italian asylum system being put under stress. That's why the Commission is offering its financial and technical support".

    Italian Minister Luigi Alfano's idea of hotspots at sea "is interesting and to explore, but there are other legal, technical and financial questions that have to be resolved first, to know if it's sustainable and doable. This is exactly what the experts at Frontex are looking at together with experts from the Italian authorities," he also stated.  

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