I have visited Athens in order to assist Greece in implementing Europe's new policy on migration, at a time where migration flows in the region are increasing. Greece is one of the countries dealing seriously with the consequences of migration.
During my meeting with the Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction as well as with the other Ministers who are responsible for these matters, I explained the ways and methods which the Commission could support Greece, when implementing the new European Agenda on Migration. We also discussed the Greek Roadmap and the National Programs for asylum, migration, integration and internal security.
The European Agenda on Migration introduces innovative and effective measures of solidarity for front-line Member States like Greece and Italy, which are currently facing the biggest migratory pressures in Europe.
Tomorrow we will propose to the Member States the activation of an emergency mechanism, where a significant number of asylum seekers could be relocated from front-line Member States - like Greece – to other EU Member States. This mechanism could also be activated for other Member States which may face similar emergencies in the future.
This measure will take place for the first time in EU history. It constitutes an important change in the way the Union deals with migration. The relocation of migrants to other EU Member States will be fair, according to a distribution key and based on the criteria that have already been announced.
It is of enormous importance for Greece to meet its obligations towards those seeking protection, within the EU framework and standards. The Roadmap which was recently presented by the Greek government is a very positive step in this direction. The Commission services are ready to assist Greece in resolving any outstanding issues.
There is also a need for Greece to adopt a long-term strategy because it's the only way to address all migratory issues and also to have the necessary flexibility to adapt and to face promptly emergency situations.
Cooperation between the European Commission and the Greek authorities should be intensified in the coming days. I have given the necessary instructions to our services in Brussels and they are ready to come to Greece in the coming days to deal with the outstanding issues and to start a new chapter of cooperation.
I have said it many times and I will repeat it again today. Europe is by Greece's side and solidarity to address the migration challenges will be immediate and substantial.