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EU gives Greece border ultimatum over migrants

EU ultimatum to Greece: Stem flow of migrants through to northern Europe

Migrants disembark from a ferry at the port of Piraeus after leaving the island of Lesvos, Greece, on
Feb. 10.(Photo: EPA)
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MUNICH -- The European Union warned Greece on Friday to do a better job of stemming the flood
of migrants crossing through to other European nations or face a suspension of the EU's passportfree travel rights.
The ultimatum -- fix Greece's border controls within three months or lose free travel rights for up to
two years -- came as the 28-nation bloc struggles to cope with its worst refugee crisis since World
War II.
Greece is the main gateway for several thousand migrants a day who are fleeing wars in Syria and
elsewhere en route to more prosperous northern Europe. EU leaders have accused Greece of not
doing enough to keep so many war refugees and other migrants seeking better economic
opportunities from transiting through the country.
"The overall functioning of the Schengen Area is at serious risk," the European Council said,
referring to a 28-nation European zone that allows for passport-free travel for more than 400 million
citizens, business people, tourists and others. "The difficulties faced by Greece have an impact on
the EU as a whole."
Schengen Area countries are permitted to unilaterally put up border controls for a maximum of six

months, but that time limit can be extended for up to two years if a member is found to be failing to
protect its borders.

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France and Austria have imposed temporary border
controls, and European Council President Donald Tusk has
warned that the free-travel zone faces collapse if migration to Europe is not brought under control.
The European Council gave Greece a list of changes it wants met, including overhauling its
"registration procedures, sea border surveillance, border check procedures, risk analyses, human
resources and training, infrastructure and equipment and international cooperation."
The International Organization for Migration, a group that tracks people fleeing conflict zones, said
Friday that an estimated 83,201 migrants arrived in Europe so far this year, 77,303 of them arriving
on Greek islands from Turkey. More than 850,000 migrants arrived in Greece last year.
Greece, which has been coping with an enormous debt burden that required a massive international
bailout last year, has complained that it lacks financial resources to manage such a huge flow our
website of people.

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NATO to send warships to Aegean to tackle smuggling
NATO said this week that it would start patrolling the Aegean Sea as it steps up efforts to clamp
down on smugglers who are ferrying migrants across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe .
The development came as the 52nd Munich Security Conference kicked off Friday in this Bavarian
capital. World leaders and diplomats held talks on subjects ranging from cyber-security to the
Islamic State terror group to the migrant crisis.
Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the conference, said in his welcoming remarks that the world is at
a more dangerous point than at any time since the Cold War.
Chllr #Merkel received George+Amal Clooney 4 talks on #refugee policy+their engagement for
@theIRC. RT @RegSprecherpic.twitter.com/bH8cUNfHib
-- GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) February 12, 2016
Jordan's King Abdullah who'se country is hosting more than 600,000 Syrian refugees, cautioned that
the EU needed to do more to help nations on its doorstep with large Muslim populations, such as
Kosovo and Albania, to halt the spread of radical Islam.
"Sorry to say this, but we are dealing with something permanent," said Italian Foreign Minister
Paolo Gentiloni. He said attempts to solve the crisis should avoid "national solutions."
In Berlin, actor George Clooney and his wife Amal, a human rights lawyer, met with German
Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the crisis. He is in Germany to attend the Berlin International
Film Festival.
Clooney told reporters Thursday that he "absolutely agreed" with Merkel's decision to welcome more
than 1 million migrants to Germany last year, a move that won international plaudits but has
provoked an anti-immigrant backlash at home.

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