Brussels, 23 September 2015
Ladies and gentlemen,
Yesterday, the Council took a historic decision. We are now in a position relocate 160,000 refugees within Europe.
Our hard work of the last weeks and months is paying off.
We are finally able to put solidarity into practice.
Now we have to roll-up our sleeves and start putting everything in place.
Relocation goes hand in hand with the deployment of migration support teams in 'hotspot' locations, there where migrants arrive in large numbers.
The Commission and the EU Agencies will work closely with Italy and Greece so that the migration support teams become operational by the end of the week.
Member States with external borders are confronted with particular challenges.
The Commission expects that they will ask for the deployment of the Rapid Border Intervention Team (RABIT). This measure will strengthen the controls, while at the same time, respect the dignity and rights of refugees.
Strengthening the control of the external boards is essential to restore the well-functioning of the Schengen area.
To this end, I will continue to work closely with Member States.
But on the top of this, we will present new proposals to reinforce and improve border controls.
We will strengthen Frontex and develop a fully operational European Border and Coast Guard.
You will see our proposals end of this year.
Moreover, as you know, we all agreed on common rules which form the Common European Asylum System.
It is not enough to agree something. It has to be correctly implemented in order to avoid 'asylum shopping' and even 'return shopping'.
It is of crucial importance that all Member States implement the same rules and the same standards to protect the rights of the migrants but also avoid secondary movements within the EU.
This is not the case today. That's why we launch today 40 infringement cases.
Of course the comprehensive package is much wider. Earlier this month, we proposed further measures:
- a framework for a relocation crisis mechanism
- an EU list of safe countries of origin
- an EU action plan on return.
I will work with the Member States and the European Parliament on these files over the coming weeks. We need to move forward and to move fast.
Finally, to implement all the measures including the already agreed resettlement programme, we need to increase our financial and human capacities.
As Kristalina explained, we need to support the most affected Member States.
We also need to ensure that our agencies have the necessary resources. They are currently stretched to their limits.
The Commission will also come forward next week with a proposal to increase by 100 million euro the budget for emergency assistance.
Ladies and gentlemen,
All the measures we have adopted so far and presented today will succeed if we all continue to work together.
We now have to implement them quickly and effectively.
Today, the Commission has shown once again that we are ready and determined to do it.