ATHENS — European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, in a joint online press conference with the German Federal Minister of Interior and chairman of the EU Council of Ministers Horst Seehofer on Friday, underlined the extraordinary efforts of those working on the front line to support migrants and refugees in Lesvos, after the tragic events in Moria.
ATHENS — Referring to the lack of a European migration policy in these difficult circumstances, he stressed that "Moria is a harsh reminder to all of us that we need a migration policy and I know I can count on Mr Seehofer's support."
Seehofer spoke warmly about the initiatives taken by Schinas on behalf of the EU to provide immediate support to the island.
A day after his visit to Moria, the Vice-President stressed that with European support "we have already transported 400 unaccompanied minors to the mainland of Greece and are now working hand in hand with the Greek authorities and international organisations, such as the UNHCR, for the rapid provision of housing to those who need it by providing ships, tents and other accommodation."
Schinas said he was "proud" of the fact that "together with the German presidency we will set up a mechanism to relocate the 400 unaccompanied minors to new homes in various EU countries".
"The immediate response and these actions are emblematic of the way that Europe, for which we all need to fight, is united in a time of need."
Although the conditions in Moria were not sustainable for such a long period of time, the European official noted that thanks to the support of the Greek authorities the situation had drastically improved in recent months.
"We must also acknowledge that to date we do not have a common European asylum policy, a new genuine European framework needed to manage member-states' policies and decisions and to provide a real answer that can provide certainty and clarity for migrants arriving in Europe and will be able to gain the trust of European citizens that migration is managed efficiently and based on our values," he said.
Time is running out and the Commission, said Schinas, will present the new Immigration and Asylum Pact at the end of September, for a truly European migration policy based on the fundamental values of Europe.