Estonian politicians scold Italy, Greece for failing to register refugees

The police handing out ID bands to refugees traveling from Austria to Germany (Reuters/Scanpix)
11/19/2015 4:07 PM
Category: International

Greece and Italy should do more to register all people who arrive on their shores for international protection and those who come from safe countries should be sent back, chairman of the Parliament's European Union Affairs Committee Kalle Palling said.

"We are ready to help, Frontex has promised to support, but today the situation has gone too far," Palling said ahead of the extraordinary meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union on Friday, where Estonia will be represented by Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu and Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur.

Palling was resolute in saying that all refugees arriving in Europe must be registered. "Those who are entitled to it will be allowed to enter, and those who are not, will be sent back to a safe country," he said.

Speaking of Italy and Greece he added: "They obviously hope that it would be better if these people were somewhere else. They do not register the refugees, and just send them on. We have been speaking about the necessity of registration for half a year, but practically we are still in the same situation where there are no refugees in Italy and Greece." He hopes that all people who arrive will be registered as a result of the pressure from other Member States.

Palling also admitted that it is easy to accuse Germany and Sweden, who have welcomed the refugees with open arms, of the consequences of the migration crisis, but its original reason is that Greece and Italy just let people pass through their countries. Instead of requesting technical details, it is in his opinion necessary to strengthen the border guard, which would mean not allowing people to the EU before all procedures have been completed.

Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur, who was also present at the meeting, supported this stance, saying that cooperation both between the Member States and with different agencies is of great importance. In his opinion, Friday's extraordinary meeting of the ministers of the interior will give a strong signal that all people who enter the European Union have to pass security control, and their fingerprints must be taken.

As of November 11, 40 percent of all applications for international protection in Greece have been submitted by refugees coming from Syria. Surprisingly, the same indicator for Italy is 0.2 percent. In Pevkur's opinion, the abnormally low number can be explained by the fact that refugees either do not apply for asylum in Italy, or Italy just lets them pass through without registration.

Besides strengthening of the internal borders, the issues that will be discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council's extraordinary meeting in Brussels concern collecting the data of air passengers also on the internal flights of Europe, amending the Firearms Directive and information exchange. Efforts to control the financing channels of terrorism will be discussed as a separate item.

The ministers of justice will also discuss information exchange on the penal register of people from third countries, extending the criminalization of terrorism and criminal surveillance focused in Islamic extremism.

M. Oll

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