No ‘Fortress Europe,’ says Avramopou­los

EU com­mis­sioner vows to tackle mi­grant smug­glers, as­sist south­ern mem­bers

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The Euro­pean Union should not turn into a fortress to deal with im­mi­gra­tion but should do more to stop mi­grant smug­glers in their tracks, the new EU com­mis­sioner for mi­gra­tion, home af­fairs and cit­i­zen­ship, Dim­itris Avramopou­los, told Kathimerini in his first in­ter­view since tak­ing up the job at the be­gin­ning of the month.

“The so-called Fortress Europe is not an op­tion,” said Avramopou­los. “It is a dan­ger for the rights of Euro­pean cit­i­zens.”

The new com­mis­sioner in­di­cated that the three ar­eas he will be fo­cus­ing on are do­ing more to stop mi­grant smug­gling, pro­vid­ing more as­sis­tance to the EU coun­tries that are mi­grants’ first port of call and de­vel­op­ing a more com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy for the Union.

“What we must do above all is make in­ac­tive all those who invest in il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion,” he said. “We can only do that if we cre­ate and im­ple­ment for the first time a com­plete im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy that pushes those look­ing for se­cu­rity and progress in Europe to­ward le­gal mi­gra­tion.”

Avramopou­los also sug­gested that coun­tries like Greece which are key gate­ways for ir­reg­u­lar mi­grants look­ing to reach the EU’s most pros­per­ous coun­tries could ex­pect to re­ceive more as­sis­tance un­der his com­mis­sion­er­ship.

“The re­al­iza­tion by all that Europe’s bor­ders are common and that a show of greater sol­i­dar­ity to­ward the coun­tries that feel the big­gest pres­sure is the only re­al­is­tic choice we have in Europe,” he said.

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