Strong warnings— or rather ultimatums— have come from senior European Union leaders to the Greek government over its handling of the refugee crisis over what The Financial Times called “Athens’ reluctance to accept outside support” to secure the country porous sea borders.
Several European ministers and senior EU officials threatened Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his government, accusing them of a lack of willingness to request additional support from Frontex, the EU’s border protection agency, its unwillingness to accept EU humanitarian aid; and its failure to revamp its system for registering refugees, according to The Financial Times story.
The Financial Times also reported that EU ministers will meet this Friday to announce drastic measures, should Greece not change its stance immediately. Theses measures include a suspension from the passport-free travel zone that was established in 1985 between several European Union member states, also known as the Schengen zone.
The FT newspaper cited an unnamed Greek official who acknowledged the “foot-dragging” on Greece’s part, pointing to numerous reasons, including “a legal requirement that only Greeks were allowed to patrol the country’s borders as well as sensitivity over the long-running dispute over the FYROM-Macedonia name issue and suspicions about Turkish designs on certain Greek islands, including Lesbos, point of entry for many migrants.”
“The Germans are furious and that’s why people are talking about pushing Greece out,” an anonymous EU ambassador was quoted by the FT as saying noting growing frustration about Athens’s failure to meet its obligations.
Tsipras’ government turned down a deployment of up to 400 Frontex staff to reinforce its border with FYROM, complaining in a letter to the European Commission that their mandate was too broad and went beyond registration of refugees.
Furthermore, the report in FT claims that Greek officials have yet to accept an invitation to invoke an emergency aid scheme — the EU civil protection mechanism — that would rush humanitarian support to islands and border areas.