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Migrant crisis: EU ‘dream’ in jeopardy, says Avramopoulos

11/02 13:15 CET

Migrant crisis: EU ‘dream’ in jeopardy, says Avramopoulos

"Instead of blaming Europe, it's good to remind ourselves that Europe is us also. I believe that going back to national policies, it is detrimental to the European dream and project and it doesn't anywhere"

European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos says he welcomes the involvement of NATO in helping to stem the flow of migrants into Europe.

He told euronews that the military alliance has the power to “better manage” the crisis.

NATO has since agreed to send military vessels to the Aegean Sea, to help Turkey and Greece crack down on criminal networks smuggling migrants and refugees into Europe.

Although the plan is still to be detailed by NATO generals, member states are likely to use ships to work with Turkish and Greek coastguards and the European Union border agency Frontex.

Efi Koutsokosta, euronews: “Are you going to send any infringement procedures against these member states that don’t implement the relocation scheme and all other European decisions?”

Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration: “It’s not foreseeable for the near future. So right now we don’t want to punish anybody. What we want to do is to put everybody in front of their responsibilities.

“If some member states might react in a negative way and they don’t want to comply, we have the means to try to convince them.”

Efi Koutsokosta: “Now you announce that the Dublin regulation is going to again also be implemented in Greece. Is Greece in the position to accept all these refugees back?”

Dimitris Avramopoulos: “Of course not. Last year we realised that Dublin cannot work properly. So we are in view of changing Dublin. But till then Dublin is alive.

“And the second element on your question. Nobody really wishes to put more burden on the shoulders of Greece. Greece is overwhelmed. Yes, Greece is on the spotlight, yes Greece was a bit late in reacting at the beginning. But now Greece is working very well I would say, I mean they have stepped up their efforts.

Efi Koutsokosta: “We have heard a new proposal by Turkey and Germany about the participation of NATO in this crisis and in the waters to protect the sea borders. What is the Commission’s position? Do you agree with such a proposal?”

Dimitris Avramopoulos: “I don’t see it in a negative way because NATO has the capability, the power, the means, the tools, in order to contribute in our effort to better manage this issue.

“Always taking consideration an element with an alliance, in terms of defence, is defined also by the enemy. Is there an enemy in front of us? All these desperate people they are enemies? An enemy is the smugglers network.”

Efi Koutsokosta: “We’ve heard the Slovak prime minister, who’s said the European Union is going to collapse if we don’t take under control the migration crisis.

“And it was also Matteo Renzi who said that Europe, the European Union was like an orchestra playing on the Titanic. What do you think?”

Dimitris Avramopoulos: “Instead of blaming Europe, it’s good to remind ourselves that Europe is us also. I believe that going back to national policies, it is detrimental to the European dream and project and it doesn’t anywhere.

“Or it’s better to say it takes us back to the dark past of the European history and the question is very clear now. How does our generation want to be remembered in the future?”

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