During a three-day visit to Greece to discuss the current migration crisis, the President of Eurojust, Ms Michèle Coninsx, accompanied by the National Member for Greece at Eurojust, Mr Nikos Ornerakis, met key Greek Ministers and visited the island of Lesvos, which has been designated a migration Hotspot.
‘The best way to tackle the problem is to understand it and to see it for yourself. I am grateful to the Greek authorities for arranging this visit to the frontline of operations and I can assure Eurojust’s continued support. This migration crisis is a common challenge that requires a common multidisciplinary approach to ensure a coordinated and effective EU criminal justice response,’ said Ms Coninsx during the Hotspot visit.
The President met separately with Alternate Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, competent for Public Order, Mr Nikolaos Toskas, the Deputy Secretary General of Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, Mr Tzanetos Filippakos, the Minister of Defence, Mr Panos Kammenos, and Alternate Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, competent for Migration Policy, Mr Ioannis Moyzalas, and exchanged views on addressing the migration crisis.
Ms Coninsx is also the National Member for Belgium and during this visit met the Belgian Ambassador in Greece, Mr Luc Liebaut.
Ms Coninsx also visited Lesvos, where she witnessed the migration problem first-hand and met a number of representatives of the competent Greek authorities and the Frontex Director of Operations, Mr Klaus Rösler.
At the end of her visit, Ms Coninsx met with the Minister of Justice, Transparency & Human Rights, Mr Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos, and attended separate meetings with the President and Prosecutor General of the Supreme Court of Greece. A final meeting was held with the Minister of State, Mr Nikolaos Pappas, at the Prime Minister’s Office.
How is Eurojust supporting the Hotspots?
The organised crime groups behind the smuggling networks are targeted. Eurojust supports and strengthens the cooperation between the Member States’ judicial authorities to dismantle and prosecute the smuggling and trafficking networks. Greece has appointed two national prosecutors as Eurojust contact points to support the Hotspot locations and to channel relevant information and cases to the Eurojust National Desks for judicial follow-up and coordination at EU level. In 2015, we noted a sharp increase in the number of cases (200) registered at Eurojust by the Greek National Desk.
Eurojust, with its operational tools, responds to the challenges of the current migration crisis by organising coordination meetings, setting up coordination centres to support joint actions in real time, facilitating and accelerating the execution of MLA requests and European Arrest Warrants, as well as by detecting links with parallel investigations and advising on prevention of conflicts of jurisdiction. Joint investigation teams are another useful tool, and one which Eurojust assists financially and legally.
A Hotspot is a section of the EU external border or a region with extraordinary migratory pressure and mixed flows that require reinforced and concerted EU agency support to the affected Member States, implemented via the EU Regional Task Force (EURTF).
The Hotspot approach was put forth by the Commission as part of the European Agenda for Migration and was further developed during the latest JHA Council meetings. Its principal objective is to coordinate European assistance in areas of significant migratory pressure.
Italy and Greece – the two countries most affected by migratory flows in 2015 - were proposed as the first Member States in which Hotspots should be designated. Operational meetings and intensive technical discussions are being held between the Commission, Greece, Italy and the relevant EU agencies to set them up.
For questions relating to the involvement of Member States, please contact the relevant national authorities.
For interviews and further information regarding Eurojust's activities, please contact:
Head of Communications and External Relations
Press & PR Service
Tel: +31 70 412 5508
For all Eurojust press releases, please see www.eurojust.europa.eu (Press centre)
Illegal immigrant smuggling - Eurojust’s mission to Italy
Missing persons and migration
A holistic approach to migration