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Avramopoulos: I am opposed to Guantanamo Bay for Migrants

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Avramopoulos: I am opposed to Guantanamo Bay for Migrants

Refugees in Europe have divided public opinion
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REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
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As European leaders try to hammer out a plan to solve the migration crisis, the European Commission set out some of its proposals.

Chief among them is the idea to prevent migrants from reaching Europe - where they end up in detention - by screening them at centers to be established in North Africa.

The Commissioner for Migration defended the plan against criticism that it would be inhumane.

"I'm against Guantanamo Bay for migrants. This is against European values so it's out of the question," Mr Avramapoulos told journalists at a press conference.

According to the proposals, migrants would be screened in North Africa in return for financial assistance to those countries. There'd also be new border guards on the EU's Mediterranean frontier, as well as a resettlement scheme.

When asked whether a pan-European approach was the way forward, when there were signs of unity fraying, Mr Avramopoulos said simply that there was "no other way ahead."

He added: "Schengen has to be protected but Schengen is not just a scheme, as I said it is one of the greatest achievements."

He was referring to the flagship European scheme that allows freedom of movement within Europe.

At the heart of the issue is the fact that the EU is caught between the principles behind Schengen freedom of movement, and the current Dublin asylum system, which localizes the burden on frontier states like Greece and Italy.