Question: Situation on the border between Turkey and the EU

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 asked the Commission the following questions:

Priority question for written answer P-001313/2020 to the Commission

Subject: Situation on the border between Turkey and the EU

Since Turkey's decision to open its borders on Friday, 28 February, the situation on the border between Turkey and the EU at the border between Turkey and the EU. Officials have that a four-year-old Syrian boy has died in the waters off Lesbos. and journalists report that a Syrian refugee was shot dead by border guards. border guards was shot dead. In addition, the Greek government has announced a decision to increase deterrence at the border and to block new asylum applications for one month. The UNHCR estimates that about 1200 people arrived on the East Aegean islands on March 1 and 2. East Aegean Islands on March 1 and 2.

The suspension, albeit temporary, of the right to apply for asylum and any violation of the principle of non-refoulement are unlawful under the Geneva Convention, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Treaty on European Union.

1. what the Commission will do to ensure that the EU and its Member States take account of international asylum law and EU asylum law?

2. will it look into the alleged use of violence at the EU-Greece border, including the use of tear gas and the excessive use of physical force by border guards against asylum seekers?

3. what measures the EU will take, in coordination with international organisations, including the UNHCR and the IOM, to alleviate the pressure on Member States of first entry?


Answer given by Commissioner Ylva Johansson on behalf of the European Commission:

According to Article 4 of the Schengen Borders Code[1] Member States must, when carrying out border checks, comply with the relevant Union legislation relating to access to international protection and the principle of Non-rejection act.

The Commission takes seriously all allegations of the use of force at the EU's external borders and understands that the Greek authorities are investigating all cases. Although Member States are responsible for determining which measures are appropriate to prevent unauthorised border crossings, the use of physical force must be justified and proportionate. The Commission is assisting the Greek authorities in de-escalating tensions and restoring calm and order at the border.

On 4 March 2020, the Commission adopted an Action Plan for urgent measures in support of Greece.[2] was presented. Recent achievements of the initiative include the coordinated relocation of around 1600 unaccompanied minors from Greece to other Member States and the transfer of 1000 vulnerable migrants from hotspots to local hotels as part of the measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, the new Migration and Asylum Pact will include proposals for wide-ranging solidarity with Member States of first entry. The Commission continues to work closely with international organisations in this regard, in particular the International Organisation for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which continue to play a crucial role in the implementation of EU assistance to migrants and refugees.

[1] Regulation (EU)2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 establishing a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code).


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

  1. How does the Commission explain the discrepancies between objectives and results and how does it intend to remedy them?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?

E-004414/2019 (04.03.2020)
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[1].

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[2].

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[3].

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.[4]. 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[5].

[1] 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
[2] See Commission's reply, p. 10 et seq.
[3] See and
[4] See Commission's reply, p. 3 f.
[5] See also EASO press release of 7 January 2020:  

Request: Attack on rescue ship Alan Kurdi by Libyan militias

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 02/28/2020, I received answers from the Commission to the following questions:

Question for written answer E-003535/2019 to the Commission

Subject: Attack by Libyan militias on the rescue ship Alan Kurdi

Men fired warning shots and threatened with their guns on board, endangering not only the crew of the Alan Kurdi, but also some 90 people in distress at sea. The Libyan ships had no boat identification.
There is also information that Abd Al-Rahman Al-Milad, known as Al Bija, who is on an EU sanctions list for involvement in human smuggling, has again taken over as head of the Zawiya coast guard.

1. can it be ruled out that the militias involved in the attack or the regional unit of the Libyan coast guard in Zawiya are being financed or trained by the EU, or is it at all comprehensible which funds flow to which coast guard?

2. what information does the Commission have about the militias involved in the attack and what steps have been taken, for example, to press another Libyan coast guard to investigate the case?

3. according to a new decree issued by the government in tripoli, NGO vessels operating in libyan waters will in future be required to obtain a licence from the libyan authorities; how will the Commission help to ensure that the libyan authorities bring this decree into line with international law and do not apply it in international waters, for example in their sea rescue zone?

Answer from Ms Johansson
on behalf of the European Commission:

The Commission has always considered it a priority to support the capacity of partner countries to improve search and rescue services for sea rescue, and appropriate management of migration requires a balanced approach ranging from ensuring protection for people in need to strengthening border management.

The main recipient of EU funds from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the General Coastal Defence Administration under the Ministry of Interior of Libya, has so far received a series of basic training courses for nearly 100 staff. 477 Libyan Coast Guard and Ministry of Defence naval officers under the Ministry of Defence have received training on human rights and international law, among other things, in Operation Sophia. This training has been carried out following a review process which ensures that the officers concerned are not on the UN sanctions list. The head of the Coast Guard, Abd Al-Rahman al-Milad, on the UN sanctions list is under investigation. The Libyan Coast Guard has informed the Commission that he has been suspended from the operational service.

Libya has ratified the Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue Services and in December 2017 announced the Libyan Search and Rescue Zone, clearly establishing that the primary responsibility for coordinating rescue operations in the designated region lies with the Libyan authorities. The Commission will continue to closely monitor the projects and improve cooperation with the Libyan Coast Guard and the General Coastal Defence Administration in the context of these projects and in the framework of the EU Integrated Border Management Support Mission. The Commission's objective is to assist Libya to assume responsibility in its territorial waters in compliance with international standards.