Question: Use of EU aid to Greece and Italy in the field of asylum
In order to be able to exercise my parliamentary control function as a Member of the European Parliament, I have the opportunity to put questions to the European Commission. The Commission must answer these questions.
On 04/03/2020, I received answers to the following questions from the Commission:
Question for written answer E-004414/2019 to the Commission
Subject: Questions on the use of EU aid to Greece and Italy in the field of asylum following the European Court of Auditors' report No 24/2019
In its audit report of 13 November2019 on the European Union's support to Greece and Italy in the area of asylum, the European Court of Auditors pointed to a significant discrepancy between the stated objectives and the results achieved, in particular with regard to urgent resettlement and lengthy asylum procedures The funds provided by the EU appear to be inappropriately distributed, leading to inhumane living conditions in the hotspots
- How does the Commission explain the discrepancies between objectives and results and how does it intend to remedy them?
- How does it explain why Frontex staff are posted to understaffed hotspots while others are severely lacking in resources, and how does it explain that the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) is understaffed while Frontex has sufficient staff or is even overstaffed?
- Despite their mandate as Members of the European Parliament, several MEPs have been denied access to the Greek hotspots, even though they have been funded from the EU budget, for which Parliament is responsible. How does the Commission explain why it is not possible for MEPs to ascertain the situation on the ground and the use of EU funds, and what will it propose to ensure that all MEPs have access to all reception facilities which receive EU funds?
Answer from Commissioner Ylva Johansson
on behalf of the European Commission:
The Commission cannot agree with the conclusions of the Honourable Members on Report No 24/2019 of the European Court of Auditors of 13 November 2019 and refers to its written opinion on specific points of the report.
While the management of external borders and asylum procedures is primarily the responsibility of the responsibility of the Member States, the support of the Commission and EU agencies since 2015 has been crucial to the improving migration management in Greece and Italy.
As stated in the Commission's response, the hotspot approach has contributed to the registration, identification and security screening of migrants in the most difficult and difficult and constantly changing circumstances. The Redistribution of refugees from Greece and Italy (involving 25Member States), which has resulted in nearly 100% of those eligible for resettlement being eligible and registered for resettlement were resettled, was a sign of European solidarity.
The Commission is now better equipped to provide operational and financial support to Member States under pressure and has provided unprecedented support to provided unprecedented support to Greece and Italy.
The Commission agrees with the recommendations of the ECA in its report and is already is already working on their implementation.
With the deployment of officials from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), the Commission is supporting a flexible combination of permanent and mobile teams to cover disembarkations efficiently.. The staff of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has been significantly reinforced since 2015 and will be increased up to 500 staff members in the coming years, provided that the Agency is enlarged in accordance with the proposed Regulation on the Asylum Agency.
 Special Report No 24/2019: Time for faster action to close the gap between objectives and results See the Commission's reply, published on the Court's website at https://www.eca.europa.eu/de/Pages/DocItem.aspx?did=52087.  See Commission's reply, p. 10 et seq.  See https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/201909_managing-migration-eu-financial-support-to-greece_en.pdf and https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/201905_managing-migration-eu-financial-support-to-italy_en.pdf.  See Commission's reply, p. 3 f.  See also EASO press release of 7 January 2020: https://www.easo.europa.eu/news-events/easo-operations-double-size-year.