The European Union will on Tuesday propose steps Greece can take to remedy “serious” failings in its handling of the refugee crisis, a spokesman said, adding to the pressure on Athens to protect the bloc’s frontiers.
If Greece fails to comply, Brussels could authorise EU member countries to exceptionally extend border controls within the Schengen area — including with Greece — for up to two years, instead of the normal six months.
The recommendations will come as the European Commission formally adopts a draft report published last week that said Greece has failed to protect the EU’s external frontiers from the continent’s biggest influx of refugees since World War II.
EU Commissioners representing the bloc’s 28 states “will recommend to the (European) council measures to take to remedy the situation” in Greece, commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters Monday.
The European Commission is the EU’s executive body charged with initiating and enforcing the union’s laws, while the European Council represents the member states.
But the contents of the recommendation, which will be adopted by the commissioners meeting in Strasbourg, France at a full session of the European Parliament, will not be made public and will be “quite general,” an EU official said.
More detailed measures will be proposed later, the official added.
Last week’s damning report said Greece faces border controls with the rest of the 26-country Schengen passport-free zone in three months if it fails to act.
Based on an inspection at the Turkish land border and on several islands in the Aegean Sea, the EU found Greece was failing to properly register and fingerprint refugees.
The highly critical draft report by Brussels heaps pressure on Greece, the main gateway for the one million refugees who entered Europe last year.