Clock ticking on EU migrant quota deadline

EU states are running out of time to comply with migrant relocation quotas on Italy and Greece, the European Commission has said.

“I’m not very happy with how some member states have so far responded to our call for more relocations,” the EU migration commissioner, Dmitris Avramopoulos, said in Tallinn on Thursday (6 July).

Anvelt: Migration talks marked start of Estonia's EU presidency (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

He noted that 160,000 asylum seekers were to be taken from Italy and Greece by September, but that the latest numbers were still “very low” - reported euobserver.

“You have not a lot of time in front of you, but do it as soon as possible,” he said, addressing non-compliant EU states.

“This is a common European policy that we adopted in Luxembourg two years ago. It is mandatory,” he said.

He added that lack of solidarity on issues such as migration could “put in question the very existence of the European Union”.

Avramopoulos spoke at an informal EU meeting in Estonia that discussed Italy’s appeal for help following a surge in arrivals from Libya.

Other EU states declined to open their ports to migrants, instead saying that non-refugees should be deported more quickly and that NGO rescue boats should follow a new code.

Avramopoulos said he had “called on member states to do more on relocations” at Thursday’s meeting.

His previous appeals having gone unheeded, the commissioner added: “Let’s see whether it will be said many times in the future.”

EU states have so far relocated some 20,000 people from Italy and Greece.

The Commission has launched legal action against the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland for boycotting the scheme.

As of 3 July, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, and Slovakia had not relocated a single person from Italy.

Germany and France were miles away from their full legal commitments, with Germany 20,477 relocations short and France 15,935 behind.

Spain (8,254 short), the Netherlands (3,891), Romania (3,546), Sweden (3,100), Belgium (3,031), and Portugal (1,561) were also heading for major violations.

Avramopoulos defended the EU’s decision to step up expulsions of economic migrants and to create rules for NGO rescues.

“Tens of thousands of people are economic migrants … they have to be returned to the country they came from,” he said on Thursday.

He said the Commission was waiting for Italy to draft a code of conduct for NGO rescues prior to its EU imprimatur.

The Estonian interior minister, Anders Anvelt, who chaired Thursday’s meeting on behalf of his country’s EU presidency, said the NGO code was needed for coordination.

“If you had a forest fire and you had NGOs and then national rescue workers and there was no coordination between them, I don’t think there would be a good result,” he said.

Human Rights at Sea, a UK-based charity, said on Thursday it had seen a leaked copy of the draft Italian code.

There was “a distinct lack of ... explicit reference to the need to save life at sea” in the draft, the charity said.

It said that NGOs who refused to sign could be denied access to Italian ports.

It also cited Italian coastguard figures for April which said that NGOs rescued 5,015 people from sea that month.

Commercial ships rescued 3,523 people and Italian authorities rescued 3,225, while two EU operations, Frontex and Sophia, rescued 937 between them.

Read other news on the city site of Tallinn.

euobserver
EUmigrant
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Politics
Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Society
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
Society
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
Society
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
Society
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
Society
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Society
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Society
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
Society
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...