European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos offered to pay European Union countries to take in refugees and migrants off rescue boats in the Mediterranean at the same time he’s not pressing them to take an overload from Greece, which has more than 64,000.
That includes more than 15,000 on islands where Turkey has let human traffickers send them during a suspended swap deal with the EU, dumping the problem on Greece. Avramopoulos said he won’t take legal action against the countries who reneged on pledges to help Greece becaue it’s too delicate politically.
His proposals expanded on those agreed at an EU meeting earlier in July during a tense session where Italy’s new populist government said it wouldn’t take any more although it’s a prime destination for those fleeing from North Africa.
He didn’t say whether it will include refugees and migrants coming to Greek islands on boats who make it without being rescued by the Coast Guard or the EU’s patrol agency Frontex.
The proposal foresees offering funding to volunteer countries to set up and and run centers to assess whether people qualify for asylum in Europe or should be sent home as economic migrants, said Kathimerini.
Countries who agree will receive 6,000 euros ($7,020) for each one from the controlled ceners they take in although it wasn’t clear whether that included Greece.
“We are ready to support member-states and third countries in better cooperating on disembarkation of those rescued at sea,” Avramopoulos said in a statement.
“But for this to work immediately on the ground, we need to be united not just now, but also in the long run,” he added.
The EU said it would also set up regional “disembarkation platforms” outside the bloc, most likely in North Africa, to discourage migrants from boarding smuggling boats bound for Europe.