Commissioner rejects review of Schengen
European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos yesterday ruled out agreeing to any initiative clamping down on visa-free travel in the 26-country Schengen area. “Schengen is not the problem but the solution,” Avramopoulos told Kathimerini, responding to calls for tighter border controls to stem the surge of refugees reaching Europe from the Middle East. Avramopoulos also played down criticism of Turkey, which has been accused of not doing enough to stop migrants and refugees from crossing into Greece, saying that “we have to recognize the huge burden it has accepted, with 2 million refugees at reception centers and another 2 million roaming around the country without papers.” Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration yesterday said that Greece experienced the largest single weekly influx of migrants this year over the last week, with an average of 9,600 arrivals a day. It said some 48,000 people crossed from Turkey to Greek islands “despite deteriorating weather conditions,” in the period from October 17 to 21.