European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos visited Greece yesterday (26.5) and had meetings with government officials to discuss the Commission’s plans for tackling irregular migration.

In a joint meeting with Ministers of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, Civil Protection, Shipping and Migration Policy, the Greek government asked for an immediate disbursement of EU funds to help cope with increased migration flows. The ministers also asked for the immediate activation of a refugee relocation programme and the reinforcement of rescue equipment and resources for reception, identification and asylum.

Following the meeting, Avramopoulos announced that the Commission will propose to the Member States the activation of an emergency mechanism allowing asylum seekers to be transferred from frontline countries to other EU Member States. "The fact that this is happening for the first time in the history of the EU is a real change in the way the EU deals with migration," Avramopoulos said. The relocation will be carried out fairly, based on the criteria of a distribution system already announced, he added. Yesterday’s meeting also focused on government programmes for asylum, migration, integration and home security.