01 January 2016
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European Commission: Commission discusses draft Schengen Evaluation Report on Greece (pdf)
Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "The draft Schengen evaluation report on Greece looks at the management of the external border during an evaluation visit of Member States and Commission experts in Greece in November. The report shows that there are serious deficiencies in the management of the external border in Greece. We know that in the meantime Greece has started undertaking efforts towards rectifying and complying with the Schengen rules. Substantial improvements are needed to ensure the proper reception, registration, relocation or return of migrants in order to bring Schengen functioning back to normal, without internal border controls...."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments: "Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos is seeking to make a scapegoat out of Greece when nearly all the other Schengen Member States have failed to act on pledges for aid funds, pursued legally dubious reception procedures, registration, relocation or return of migrants - and the Commission has failed to act"
See: Refugee crisis: Statistics: September 2015 ongoing: Latest Commission figures, published 25.1.16. Very little has changed.
The Schengen suspension process will be started if:
"If a Schengen Evaluation Report concludes that the evaluated Member State is "seriously neglecting its obligations under the Schengen rules" and if there are "serious deficiencies in the carrying out of external border control", the Commission can propose recommendations, to be adopted by the Council, for remedial action to address any deficiencies identified during the evaluation...
under Article 19a of the Schengen Borders Code, recommend that the evaluated Member State take certain specific measures, which may include the deployment of European border guard teams or the submission of a strategic plan setting out how the Member State will deploy its own personnel and equipment to address the concerns....
Under Article 26 of the Schengen Borders Code, if the measures under Article 19a have not been effective, the Council may, based on a proposal from Commission, recommend that one or more Member States reintroduce border controls at all or at specific parts if their internal borders as a matter of last resort, to protect the common interest of the Schengen area. The Council recommendation needs to be adopted by qualified majority. Under Article 26, and in the exceptional circumstances described above, controls can be reintroduced for a period of up to six months. This measure can be prolonged for additional six month periods up to a maximum duration of two years."
Article 29 would mean that Schengen states bordering Greece could "legally" close their borders to refugees and migrants seeking to enter their country.
Keep in touch: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: Daily news (updated through the day), commentaries and official documents
Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers, Amsterdam, 25-26 January 2015
Refugee crisis: Council proposals on migrant smuggling would criminalise humanitarian assistance by civil society, local people and volunteers - Greece: NGOs and volunteers have to "register" with the police and be vetted
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