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EU must not leave Bulgarian and Greek frontline regions and islands alone in the new migratory crisis, warns CoR President Tzitzikostas  

Migratory crisis on the European Committee of the Regions’ March plenary agenda

Statement by President of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas:

Dozens of thousands migrants and refugees are led to leave Turkey to reach Europe through the European borders of Greece and Bulgaria. 

While we understand the humanitarian reasons that make thousands of people leave their homes who are escaping war and fleeing abuse, the EU must not leave the Bulgarian and Greek frontline regions and islands alone in this new migratory crisis.

The EU citizens from those communities, who have already suffered from the economic and social crisis over the past few years, must not feel alone and abandoned, right when they need European solidarity the most.

These new migratory waves are not Greek or Bulgarian national issues. They are EU matters that concern all European citizens from all member states and all regions and cities in Europe.

Europe has to learn from its past mistakes and act in a coordinated, quick and concrete manner, to ease the burden on local communities.

I welcome the presence of the EU’s leadership at the external borders of the EU today. David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and​ Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, together with Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis, are visiting Evros today which is a strong message of solidarity. It is now time for action and concrete measures.

 I therefore ask the EU institutions and Member States to intervene in six main priority areas:

  1. I call on the European Commission to deploy more staff from Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office to all frontline regions and islands. EU border guards, staff and experts must ease the current strain on national and regional authorities.

  2. I ask the EU institutions and Member States to grant EU targeted financial assistance to local and regional authorities in the affected areas in order to reduce the burden arising from the migratory crisis.

  3. I count on all Member States to show responsibility and share the burden of the migratory crisis which is now needed even more. Only by sharing asylum seekers and refugees between all EU countries we can give an answer to our people's outcry for real European solidarity. I call on the current Croatian EU Presidency and on the EU Council President to take immediate action.

  4. I ask the European Commission to review its policies on readmission agreements with countries of origin of migrants. It must use all means at its disposal, including conditionality on development aids and on trade agreement negotiations, to ensure migrants who are not legally entitled to stay in Europe will be returned to their home countries.

  5. I call on the European Institutions to ensure that the EU-Turkey Agreement is fully respected.

  6. I call on the EU Member States to quickly find an agreement on the reform of the Dublin Regulation, as already requested by the European Parliament.

As President of the European Committee of the Regions and on behalf of all EU regional and local authorities, I will put this very serious issue on the agenda of our plenary session in March.


President's Spokesperson:

Michele Cercone
Tel. +32 (0)498 98 23 49