With Schengen beneath threat, Greece accepts EU help

BRUSSELS/IDOMENI Greece asked for European support on Thursday to safe its borders and care for crowds of migrants, defusing threats from EU allies to bar it from the passport-totally free Schengen zone if it failed to get a grip.

Hours prior to EU interior ministers are to meet on Friday to think about what to do about Greece’s inability to stem the flow of refugees and others streaming toward Europe’s wealthy north, the Athens government ultimately heeded calls from Brussels and agreed to accept European aid and foreign border guards.

Although EU officials insisted publicly there was “no threat to expel” Greece from Schengen — a relatively symbolic punishment as it has no land border with the rest of the bloc — diplomats said Athens was beneath large pressure to show by Friday’s meeting that it was cooperating on EU migration measures.

Its acceptance of three offers — EU employees to assist on its northern frontier, foreign border guards on its Aegean islands and tents and supplies to home stranded migrants — was swiftly welcomed by the EU executive and Migration Commissioner Dmitris Avramopoulos, a Greek himself, referred to as for EU states to support.

Riots and the death of a young Moroccan electrocuted on a rail line as he tried to cross Greece’s northern frontier into Macedonia place much more human faces on a crisis that has poisoned relations amongst European governments and left their cherished Schengen program of open borders on life help.

The man was among some three,000 men and women, mainly from Pakistan, Iran and Morocco, stuck near the northern Greek town of Idomeni given that Macedonia began limiting entry to Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans probably to be provided asylum further north in the EU.

Half a world away, in Pakistan, the government’s refusal to let 30 of its own citizens get off a plane chartered from Greece to return them to Islamabad underscored the difficulties in enforcing a new EU determination to deport these of this year’s million arrivals who fail to qualify for asylum

Inside Europe, a Swedish strategy that could close the Baltic bridge linking it to Nordic neighbor Denmark in case of migrant emergencies rammed property how far disarray in coping with Syrian and other refugees — in numbers dwarfed by the EU population of 507 million — is taxing European unity.

South of the bridge, Danes voted No on Thursday in a referendum to a government request for a lot more power to cooperate with EU partners on policing — the most recent sign that fears of Euro-chaos are fuelling populist nationalisms.

On Sunday, Union co-founder France is most likely to hand huge electoral gains to the anti-EU National Front, three weeks soon after 130 individuals have been killed in Paris by Islamic State militants, some of whom might have arrived from Syria through Greece.


Handicapped by the financial crisis that practically saw it drop out of the euro currency zone, Greece has struggled to cope this year with nearly 600,000 men and women making the brief but perilous crossing from Turkey to Greek islands scattered along its coast.

Allies have grown increasingly impatient with Greek failures to even register and identify most of these arriving, let alone accommodate them and deal with asylum requests as EU guidelines dictate and that frustration has mounted sharply amid accusations that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s radical leftist-led coalition has refused to accept EU help, notably foreign border guards.

Whilst denying it had rejected aid and cooperation, the government said on Thursday that it would function with officers from the EU’s Frontex border agency to register those migrants trapped in the north given that Macedonia tightened frontier checks.

Sensitive to ideas Greece was losing sovereignty on its territory, a government spokeswoman stressed Frontex would only work on registration of individuals not documented additional south and not take element in “joint border controls”.

The European Commission, which below President Jean-Claude Juncker has been pressing Tsipras to accept more EU help, mentioned Athens had formally activated two other assistance applications.

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism, originally conceived to cope with all-natural disasters such as earthquakes, will offer EU supplies of tents, generators and other equipment to assist Greece accommodate folks more than the winter. And on the Greek islands, Frontex will organize a Fast Border Intervention Team (RaBIT), forcing other EU states to reinforce Greek border guards.

It is only the second time the RaBIT system has been activated after Greece utilized it in the winter of 2010-11 to check a surge in individuals crossing its land border with Turkey. That has because been sealed but healthcare charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, which is involved in saving people at sea in the Aegean, known as on the EU on Thursday to open new, safer routes to Europe.

EU leaders hope winter seas, and their new deal with Turkey to attempt to dissuade and avoid Syrian and Iraqi refugees and other migrants from setting off, can bring down the numbers and give them breathing space to organize a collective response.

Two weeks ahead of they sit down for a Brussels summit that could be stormy, there is no sign of divisions easing, notably in between German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has led efforts to take in much more Syrians, and leaders in the formerly Communist East who oppose EU schemes to make them take in some asylum seekers.

The Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban said it would follow neighboring Slovakia in filing a complaint at the European Court of Justice against the program.

The possible for immigration to wreck significant achievements of the European Union has fueled calls for tougher action. This week, Merkel has warned that even Afghans who do not meet strict criteria for asylum will be deported — even though that is not simple.

And in an interview published on Thursday, Donald Tusk, the former Polish premier who chairs EU summits, mentioned irregular migrants need to be detained for as lengthy as needed to verify their identities, up to the 18 months permitted by law.

Warning of safety threats and saying most migrants have been not fleeing war, Tusk mentioned: “It is as well straightforward to get into Europe … This wave of migration is as well large not to be stopped.”

(Writing by Alastair Macdonald Editing by Alison Williams)

Agen Sabung Ayam