The EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos has issued a stark warning on the future of Europe – saying that the bloc’s migration system may “completely break down” in just 10 days time by March 7, unless Europe seriously curb the number of migrants entering.
“In the next 10 days, we need tangible and clear results on the ground. Otherwise there is a risk that the whole system will completely break down,” Avramopoulos warned a press conference.
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The EU official also warned of an imminent humanitarian crisis in Greece, the main arrival point for migrants in Europe, or on the western Balkans route most take to richer northern European countries.
“The situation is very critical. The possibility of a humanitarian crisis is very real and very near,” Avramopoulos said.
The EU-Turkey summit promises to be crucial, both for the deal that Brussels and Ankara signed in November to cut migrant flows, and for the unity of the European Union on coping with the biggest such crisis in its history.
Avramopoulos urged EU states to work together and avoid “unilateral actions”, such as the border controls that several countries have reintroduced and caps on asylum seeker numbers brought in by Austria which have left thousands of refugees stranded between member states.
The border controls threaten Europe’s Schengen free travel area that spans 26 countries.
“We cannot continue to deal through unilateral, bilateral or trilateral actions; the first negative effects and impacts are already visible,” Avramopoulos said.
“We have a shared responsibility –- all of us -– towards our neighbouring states, both EU and non-EU, but also towards those desperate people.”