Pressure on Greece increases as country is threatened with Schengen suspension

EU wants Greece to make use of European assistance and collaborate with Frontex

Greece could be faced with a suspension from the free movement in the Schengen area. EU interior ministers are meeting in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the refugee crisis. They are expected to ask fro more measures from Greece to control the flow of refugees to Europe, improve registration and set up cooperation with the EU.

Speaking at the European Parliament, Liberal (ALDE) EP leader Guy Verhofstadt on Wednesday called on Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to explain why he doesn’t want the assistance of the European Border and Coast Guard to better manage Greece’s external borders. “We cannot have a Schengen Zone in which the external border is Swiss cheese,” he said.

On his part, European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said that the Greek government is aware of the need to speed up the migration process and pledged that the situation would improve by the leaders summit on December 17.

This statement was made just a week after Slovak PM Robert Fico called to expel Greece from the Schengen area.

Greece in the past has refused assistance – choosing to resist the help from Frontex, the EU border agency – claiming that joint management infringes on Greek sovereignty. This position endangers Greek continuation in the Schengen zone.

Greece, however is being reproached for not implementing EU decisions or using tools to manage the situation. The country is lagging behind in setting up hotspots to receive, control and register migrants.

Within Greece, Government spokesman Olga Gerovasili denies that the matter concerning a greek exit from the Schengen area has been put forth as an option.