On this week's 'Conflict Zone with Tim Sebastian,' the European Commissioner for Migration admits the results of the EU refugee relocation program have been "very, very poor."
Dimitris Avramopoulos appealed to the EU member states not to resign themselves to the crisis: "It's not fear that should prevail in making and implementing policies."
"Europe is confronted with an unprecedented pressure," Dimitris Avramopoulos said in the exclusive DW interview, claiming that "nobody had foreseen, ten years ago, that right now we would have all these influxes of refugees and migrants."
Avramopoulos refused to consider the refugee relocation program a failure. Instead he turned to pragmatism: "Refugees will be granted protection and irregular migrants have to go back." Tim Sebastian asked Avramopoulos whether he should resign, given that of the 160,000 refugees who should have been relocated from most affected states, only 400 refugees have been moved so far. Avramopoulos said it's more important for him to keep fighting.
Criticizing the member states that have refused to implement the mandatory refugee quotas, the Commissioner said: "We do not encourage the rise of populism and xenophobia," adding that "we are against walls, we are against fences."
Dimitris Avramopoulos was born in Greece in 1953. He is a member of the conservative New Democracy party. He worked in the foreign service before becoming Mayor of Athens and serving as the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for National Defense. Since November 2014 he has been the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.
Tim Sebastian invites national and international decision-makers to his weekly DW show. "Conflict Zone" airs every Wednesday at 17.30 UTC and is available online on demand.