In his first visit to Brussels, on Wednesday, since his recent reelection as Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras is expected to be under pressure from his European Union colleagues over border control in relation to the refugee crisis. Mr. Tsipras will attend the emergency European summit on the crisis, where he will be pressured into stricter control of the EU’s borders.
According to a Financial Times report, it is rumored that the Greek Premier will be asked to accept supervision of the country’s borders – essentially from Frontex – as a first step towards ceding border control and management to the EU. The aim is to effectively restrict the refugee flows, particularly in Aegean. The European Commission has pressed for greater involvement of Frontex in the protection of the EU’s external borders and has raised its budget and staff numbers.
In his letter to the EU leaders, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk argued how Europeans are not capable of managing their external borders and has essentially proposed to provide Greek with greater financial aid, provided it cedes more control over the supervision of its borders.
Accepting such a proposal may also help sway central and eastern EU member states to accept Jean-Claude Juncker’s proposal for the relocation of 120,000 refugees from Greece, Italy and Hungary. Given the longstanding disputes with Turkey over national sovereignty and maritime zones though, such a proposal would be very complicated.
In any case, greater coordination with Turkey will be required in order to address the refugee crisis. Turkish authorities, which have spent 8 billion dollars in the past five years on refugees, have accused the EU of not assuming its fair share of the responsibilities. Among the EU’s consideration is to provide 1 billion euros in aid to Turkey.