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Council of the European Union targets Greece and Italy's failure to implement the Schengen acquis and control-return refugee arrivals
21.2.17
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On Friday 17 February the Council issued a number of "Recommendations" targeted at Greece and Italy:

Greece: Council implementing Decision setting out a recommendation on addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2016 evaluation of Greece on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of the Schengen Information System (EU doc no: 6354-17, pdf): Including:

- continue to increase the number of SIS queries on police checks;
- intensify the checks of travel documents of persons enjoying the right of free movement
- consider connecting its Automated Number Plate Recognition systems to SIS
- ensure that when carrying out a search in SIS on the basis of a name of a person, the system simultaneously checks the data on the person as well as on his travel or identity documents."

• Greece: Council implementing Decision setting out a recommendation on addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2016 evaluation of Greece on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of management of the external border (EU doc no: 6365-17, pdf): Including:

- respond to many shortcomings related to the lack of staff mentioned in the report of the on-site visit including ensuring a sufficient number of properly trained staff to carry out border checks at all border crossing points in all situations

- construct a comprehensive strategy on the use of reinforcements and reserves, and interagency cooperation to deal with emergency situations and escalating incidents at the borders of Greece;

- continue efforts to further promote practical operational cooperation with Turkey at local level in the Aegean Sea for enhancing border surveillance, crime prevention and preventing unauthorised border crossings;

- improve the national capacity and performance of the sea border surveillance in terms of human and technical resources.. increase the effective operational use of the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) 090, reaction capacity and coverage of border surveillance..

- Unify the land border surveillance system and increase situational awareness by expanding the Integrated Border Management and Migration Centre (IBMMC) concept used at the Greek – Turkish border at all external land borders;

- Increase border surveillance capacity by developing air component (helicopters, airplanes or drones) and by increasing the number of border guard dogs trained especially for tracing;

enhance the full capacity of the Reception and Identification Service (RIS) (staff, resources) in order to enable it to exercise its coordination role as defined by the Law (Act 4375 of 3 April 2016) and to facilitate the clarification of roles and responsibilities of the different actors involved in the Hotspot concept...."

See also:

a) Follow-up report on the implementation of the Action Plan on addressing the "serious" deficiencies identified in the 2015 evaluation on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of management of the external borders by Greece (LIMITE doc no: 12544-16, pdf) and

b) NOTE from: Hellenic Delegation to: Working Party for Schengen Matters: Schengen evaluation of Greece - 2nd Follow-up report on the implementation of the Action Plan on addressing the "serious" deficiencies identified in the 2015 evaluation on the application of the Schegen acquis in the field of management of the external borders (16 November 2016, 14524/16, LIMITE, pdf)

c) "Solidarity" on refugees: official reports lay bare Greek government frustration with other EU Member States (Statewatch)

• Greece: Council implementing Decision setting out a recommendation on addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2016 evaluation of Greece on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of the common visa policy (6352-17, pdf)

• Italy: Council Implementing Decision setting out a Recommendation on addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2016 evaluation of Italy on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of return (6538-17, pdf) Including:

"incorporate the practice of issuing return decisions and refusals of entry, issued in connection with irregular border crossing, fully into the hotspot approach in order to swiftly identify and register all third country nationals illegally entering and/or staying on the Italian territory and treat them in accordance with the aquis on return, in full compliance with the principle of non-refoulement..

- introduce in the return decisions the information that the third country national must leave the whole EU/Schengen territory in order to comply with the return decision, and that he/she cannot re-enter the Schengen area before the expiry of the entry ban

- allow in the national legislation for the possibility to issue a return decision and to impose an entry ban also in cases where illegal stay is discovered during an exit check;

- bring detention capacity in line with actual needs, at least up to the commitments taken in the Roadmap for hotspots..

- consider amending national legislation, allowing for the possibility of a longer period of detention.."

• Italy: Council implementing Decision setting out a recommendation on addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2016 evaluation of Italy on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of management of the external border (EU doc no: 6357-17, pdf): Including:

- "increase the security of the control booths to prevent unauthorised observation of computer screens, improve the positioning of the border guards inside the control booth to allow the proper performance of behavioural analysis of the passengers queueing before the border checks;

- improve the ergonomics of the booths to enable the border guards to overlook the passengers and perform a proper profiling..

- register all migrants, including photograph and fingerprints, without exceptions..."

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