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EC discusses new migration pact, as the situation in Greece remains stark

The European Commission is meeting today to discuss a new package for migration, an issue that keeps pressuring especially the southern members of the EU, Italy and Greece.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, declared that the Commission needs a new package, as the old one no longer works.

“The Commission’s package on migration and asylum, which we present today, offers a fresh start. Many legitimate interests had to be brought to balance. We want to live up to our values and at the same time face the challenges of a globalized world. Europe has to move away from ad-hoc solutions and put in place a predictable and reliable migration management system. I am convinced that the Commissions’ proposal is a good foundation for that”, said von der Leyen.

Greece and Italy have raised concerns often that the EU is not doing enough for the immigrants landing on their soil, and that they are being forced to carry the responsibility on their own. According to the President, this situation must be managed as a union and the burden is shared by all.

“This package reflects a fair and reasonable balance between responsibility and solidarity among member states. We all share the benefits, we all share the burden. This package also reflects a pragmatic and realistic approach. We know that we have to build trust among members states and citizens’ confidence so that we can manage this as a union. The package reflects the complexity of the issue as it brings together all aspects of migration, border management and screening, asylum and integration, return and relations with external partners, and finally the Commission’s proposal builds on the different geographical situations, the different capabilities and choices of EU member states, but also takes into account that the pressure in our borders is varying”, said von der Leyen.

The situation in Moria, where women and children were forced to sleep on the streets, makes this meeting even more pressing. Ursula von der Leyen says that EU decided to establish a task-force to discuss a joint pilot program with the Greek authorities in Lesbos, to help improve the conditions of the people in the island.

“With these results, in a new balance between responsibility and solidarity, it is not a question whether members states should support with solidarity and contributions, but how they should support. Moria is a stark reminder. We need to find sustainable solutions to migrations and we all have to step up. The European Commission is ready to step up as well. We want to provide rapid assistance. We will set up a joint pilot with the Greek authorities in Lesbos for the management of the reception center. To implement this we decided on a task force today. With the support of our EU agencies, this task will help improve conditions for people on the island in a durable manner.”, said the President of the European Commission.

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