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EU: Record Migrant Influx Slams Frontex

  • VOA News

Migrants from Syria and Afghanistan arrive on an overcrowded dinghy from the Turkish coasts to the Greek island of Lesbos, Monday, July 27, 2015.

Migrants from Syria and Afghanistan arrive on an overcrowded dinghy from the Turkish coasts to the Greek island of Lesbos, Monday, July 27, 2015.

The European Union called on member countries Friday to fulfill their commitments to support its border management agency in face of a migrant influx into the continent, especially Greece.

EU leaders pledged earlier this year to triple the Frontex agency's budget and provide it with additional assets as thousands of people seek to escape from poverty and armed conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Frontex said Friday that 49,550 migrants arrived in the EU via Greece in July, surpassing in a single month the total number of migrants for 2014.

Despite additional funds, Frontex “may not be able to help the countries that need assistance" unless it receives “the necessary equipment,” said Gil Arias Fernandez, the agency’s deputy executive director. “I urge EU member states to consider pledging more assets needed by Frontex for these operations,” he said.

At a meeting with relevant ministers in Athens Friday, Greece's prime minister said his financially struggling country cannot handle the flood of migrants without help from the EU.

"At this moment, Greece is facing a crisis within a crisis, the flow [of migrants] is beyond what our state infrastructure can handle," said Alexis Tsipras. "If this is not dealt with at a European level and there is no substantial help, you all understand that the situation is very hard to resolve."

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates Greece has received more than 107,000 refugees and migrants this year, more than double the total of 43,500 in 2014.

Thursday morning, the Italian Coast Guard rescued 381 people from the Mediterranean. The migrants, presumably Libyans, included 300 men, 55 women and 26 minors. All were transported Friday to the port of Pozzallo in Sicily.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced on its website Friday that more than 192,000 migrants have arrived in Europe by sea this year. More than 2,000 migrants died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported Friday that a new German government video is warning migrants and travelers from southeastern Europe that they have very little chance of receiving asylum in Germany. The agency said German authorities hoped to release the four-minute video Friday.

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