EU, migrant crisis at climax in Greece, time to deliver

Madrid Parliament rejects EU-Turkey 'shameful' accord

12 March, 00:04

    Still thousands of refugees massing in Idomeni to enter Macedonia Still thousands of refugees massing in Idomeni to enter Macedonia

    BRUSSELS - "Humanitarian crisis reaches its climax in Greece. MS (member states) to urgently accept relocations. Time to deliver", tweeted EU commissioner for Migration Dimitri Avramopoulos. 

    500 relocation request from Greece pending. EU Commission sources say countries must step forward to reply

    Five hundred requests for re-location from migrants in Greece have not yet received a reply from EU member states, European Commission sources say. This was confirmed by authorities in Athens and Brussels. It is up to individual countries to step forward and reply to individual requests from Greece, the sources say. At the Council of EU Interior Ministers' meeting Greek Immigration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas had asked for solidarity from EU partners, especially stressing the theme of relocation. 

    Italian Lower House Speaker says EU States avoiding duty in migrant crisis

    Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini on Friday said the current migrant crisis affecting the European Union wouldn't exist if every member State were to do its part. Boldrini said the EU is "doing what it shouldn't do: there's a tendency to turn a blind eye to some countries". "The EU can't demand that non-EU countries respect a series of standards and objectives if it's not ready to pursue them itself," Boldrini said. "Some States are making an effort to manage the (migrant) phenomenon, but others no. This creates the crisis; otherwise there wouldn't be one," she said. "If Europe wants to continue to be a moral compass for the world, it needs to set an example. It also needs to do it to defend its own reputation," she said

    Turkey says Aegean migrants fall from 6,800 to 2,000 a day.Turkey to Greece re-entries continue, 5 islands to be evacuated 

     The number of migrants trying each day to cross the Aegean illegally from Turkey towards the Greek coast has tumbled to around 2000 a day in February from 6,800 a day in October, according to Turkish government sources in Ankara. Turkish authorities have stopped some 50,000 migrants on that route since the start of the year including 15,000 in the sea and 35,000 during operations on land.

    Meanwhile Greece on Friday repatriated to Turkey 90 migrants from Morocco, Algeria, Pakistan and Turkey itself who entered Greek territory illegally. The migrants were expelled on the basis of a re-admission agreement between the two countries, reaffirmed this week by the visit of Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras at Izmir. Another 308 migrants were sent back to Turkey last week.

    Migrants and refugees who at the moment are on five Greek islands will be evacuated and, on the basis of pacts with the EU, Turkey will accept to take back those who landed on those islands since the agreement came into force. While not identified explicitly, the islands are believed to be those with highest migrant flows -- Lesbos, Kos, Chios, Leros and Samos, (ANSAmed).

    20 Italian police to Albanian borders to beef up frontiers against possible flows toward the Adriatic

     Some 20 Italian frontier police will be deployed in Albania from March 15 to reinforce the country's borders. They are being dispatched at the request of the Tirana authorities as part of reinforced cooperation between Italy and Albania in prevention of the migratory phenomenon and its management in case of increased flows due to the closure of the Balkans route. Tirana will decide on which frontier to deploy the Italian police, sources in Brussels say.

    On Thursday Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti underlined the importance of a partnership with Albania to manage an eventual migrant flow to the Italian coast via the Adriatic following the closure of the "Balkan route". 

    Madrid parliament rejects EU-Turkey accord, Socialists and Podemos slam 'shameful accord'

    All Spanish political groupings except for the Partido Popular have cast votes in the Congress of deputies rejecting the agreement on refugees initialled last week between the EU and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkey. Spanish Mps threw out the agreement with Ankara by 227 votes against compared to 123 in favour.

    Socialist Party Secretary Pedro Sanchez called the pact with Erdogan an "agreement of shame," "immoral" and "illegal" and asked that it be modified before it is ratified by the European Council in Brussels next week. Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said that he "feels ashamed of the EU, which systematically is not respecting human rights". (ANSAmed).

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