Brussels / AFP
The EU said on Wednesday it hopes to move the remaining 30,000 eligible refugees out of Greece by the end of next year, but appears set to fall far short of its plan to share 160,000 migrants around the bloc.
The European Commission insisted there had been “important progress” despite so far only 5,651 refugees having been moved from Greece and Italy under the scheme adopted in September 2015.
“Relocation has to succeed,” Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said in a
“With the increased capacity of the Greek Asylum Service, and if member states step up their efforts, it should notably be possible to relocate the remaining relocation candidates present in Greece (around 30,000) within the next year,” the Commission said in a report.
The executive arm of the EU also hailed the success of a deal with Turkey to reduce the flow of migrants over the Aegean Sea to Greece.
Emergency border checks introduced in the EU’s supposedly passport-free Schengen Area by five countries amid the migration crisis are meanwhile allowed to continue, although the EU will only decide on a new six-month extension in November. The EU has said it plans to restore Schengen to full borderless status by the end of the year.