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Avramopoulos stresses need for relocation of 120,000 refugees from Greece and Italy

EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos stressed the need for the direct implementation of the EU Interior Ministers' decision on the relocation of 120,000 refugees mainly from Greece and Italy upon his arrival at the EU Commissioners' Council on Wednesday.

He underlined that all member states must implement the decision. "There was a qualified majority that allows us to impose what we agreed on all countries," he stated adding that EU countries have proved that when they talk about responsibility and solidarity, they really mean it.

Avramopoulos stressed the need to set terms on who is really entitled to international protection (political refugees) and who are those who choose to come to Europe following illegal paths and who need to return home. "Europe is not prepared to deal with that situation. A comprehensive migration policy is needed," Avramopoulos underlined adding that there is a new European agenda on migration which has already started to be implemented.

"We must continue to work, to explain, and of course to have open communication and consultation corridors with all those that draft the migration policy in Europe," Avramopoulos said. Finally, he added that the EU is determined to defend its external borders and also to demonstrate that it can effectively manage this difficult and complex situation, which, as he estimated, it will continue for many years.