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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos after his visit in Rosenheim

Rosenheim, 17 September 2015

Let me first of all thank my friend Thomas (De Maizière) 

and the Bavarian and German authorities for organising this visit.

Germany's approach to the refugee crisis has always been and continues to be an embodiment of a European spirit.

There is a reason President Juncker mentioned Munich in his State of the Union address last week.

Because you are an example. You are an example of the openness and solidarity - the values - which our European Union is founded upon. 

You have opened your hearts and your homes.

I commend you.

But I know that it is not always easy also for you and we will help you as much as possible including through the financial support you requested.

We also know that this is not a crisis that is going away any time soon.

The times are testing our Union.

And it is up to us, collectively, to show our resilience.

What we need is lasting solutions.

The European Commission has proposed a system to demonstrate solidarity by relocating some of the people in need of international protection from the most affected Member State.

I wish to thank the German government  for its  active support of the Commission's proposals.

We reached a milestone on Monday with the adopted decision to relocate 40.000 people from Italy and Greece.

I hope that Member States will soon also agree on relocating an additional 120,000 refugees –

The European Parliament laid the groundwork today with its vote on our proposal.

The next extraordinary Home Affairs Council on Tuesday offers a new chance to move forward.

Relocation is only one part of the picture, however.

A resilient and credible asylum system, that can host a growing number of asylum-seekers and refugees, needs to go hand in hand with the swift return of those who do not have the right to stay in the EU. 

We need to strengthen our control at the external border to save lives and to assess quickly whether people arriving on EU territory have a right to stay or not.

That is why we work closely with the Italian and Greek authorities to develop hotspots at the sections of their border under pressure.

That is why, as announced by President Juncker in his state of the Union Speech, the Commission will come with proposals to reinforce our border control policy by the end of the year.

We need to step up the role of Frontex, giving it the competence and financial resources it needs to run return operations and to support member States

We need to work with third countries to ensure they readmit their own nationals.

We will continue to work together as a Union to tackle the root causes of this refugee crisis; and to work with our neighbours – establishing a common list of Safe countries of origin and intensifying cooperation with the Western Balkan States and Turkey.







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