Many asylum seekers make their way to northern Europe via the Balkans | Photo: picture-alliance/K. Nietfeld
Many asylum seekers make their way to northern Europe via the Balkans | Photo: picture-alliance/K. Nietfeld

Germany will support a new European effort to stop migrants arriving in Europe. The joint platform will focus mainly on migrants trying to enter via Turkey and Greece.

Interior and migration ministers from 18 European countries agreed in Vienna this week to create a "coordination platform against irregular migration on the eastern Mediterranean route."

The platform is intended to lead to both faster returns of rejected asylum seekers and procedures as well as deterring people smugglers.

Based in Vienna, the platform could be "an important early warning system" to detect migrants seeking to get to Europe, said the German interior minister, Horst Seehofer. Germany currently holds the EU Council presidency.

Focus on Greece and western Balkans

The eastern Mediterranean route refers mainly to the sea route between Turkey and Greece. In 2015, large numbers of people fleeing the Syria conflict used the route to reach the EU, traveling from there through the Balkans to Germany and other western European countries.

"We are witnessing migration developments on the West Balkan route like those before the coronavirus pandemic," said Seehofer. "All indications are that the pressure is building again."

The number of irregular border crossings in the eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece rose to 1,250 in June, eight times as many as in April, according to the European border agency Frontex.

Disunited approach 'not working'

Seehofer also said that Germany would continue to push for EU-wide agreement on a common migration policy, expected to be presented by the European Commission in September.

The current disunited approach to asylum seekers "is not working well," he said.

European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said the policy proposal would reflect lessons from 2015. "Europe cannot fail twice on migration," he said.

With dpa, epd

 

More articles