Saturday, January 30, 2016

Europe is scrambling to save the Schengen zone from collapse with a plan to seal off Greece and introduce internal border checks for up to two years. Jean-Claude Juncker backed a plan to reinforce Greece’s northern border with Macedonia with a taskforce of police drawn from across Europe.  Athens reacted with fury as leaders called for permanent refugee camps with a capacity for 300,000 refugees to be set up.  At a summit in Amsterdam, interior ministers instructed the European Commission to draw up plans to impose internal border controls within the Schengen zone for up to two years. Theo Francken, the Belgian immigration minister, said “closed facilities” run by the EU and holding up to 300,000 people should be set up in the country.  He said “the Greeks now need to bear the consequences” of being unable to stop the migrant flows. He added the Greek “state structure is just too weak to do it themselves – apparently.”  Greece responded with furious and accused the EU of peddling “lies” that it does not want to control its border. Ioannis Mouzalas, Greece’s minister for migration, said the plans would turn his country into a “cemetery of souls.” He said his government had not been consulted fully on the Slovenian plan. "We are tired to listen that we cannot secure our borders," he said. "We are told that we don't want coastguards, it's a lie - we want more coastguards."  "It is very difficult to stop small boats coming except sinking or shooting them, which is against our European values and Greek values and we will not do that," he said. Theresa May, the Home Secretary who attended the summit said Europe needed “urgent action” to deal with an “unprecedented migration crisis.”  “Unfortunately what we've had is more talk than action,” she said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Germany's Chancellor Merkel prefers the idea of forming a EU coastguard to prevent migrants from entering Europe in the first place.

But once in European waters, boats laden with asylum seekers can't be turned back.

Their claims must be heard under international law.

So the only realistic chance of stopping millions more refugees and others flooding to Europe in the short term, lies in the Middle East.

Mrs Merkel continues to lobby Turkey to crack down on people smugglers. Her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble suggests a Marshall Plan for the region - aimed at pumping money into refugee camps, to improve living conditions there and, of course, an end to Syria's civil war would be decisive in calming Europe's migration crisis.

To a greater or lesser extent though all these are distant prospects.