Refugee Crisis: Europe Slams Greece's Border 'Neglect'

Volunteers wait for the arrival of refugees on a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos, January 29. The EU wants the country to step up its border controls. Darrin Zammit/Reuters

Brussels has accused Greece of "seriously neglecting" its obligation to protect the EU's external border and urged the country to step up measures to control migration.

The European Commission on Tuesday endorsed a damning report into Greece's border controls that concluded: "Greece is seriously neglecting its obligations and there are serious deficiencies in the carrying out of external border controls that must be overcome and dealt with by the Greek authorities."

The Commission warned that Greece could face border controls with the rest of the passport-free Schengen area if it fails to act within three months.

Greece has previously reacted with fury to suggestions it might be cut out of the Schengen area.

The Commission wants Greece to boost staff numbers at its borders to better register migrants, and to step up checks of new arrivals' details against Interpol and the Schengen Information System (SIS).

Greece has promised to use its military to oversee its response to the refugee crisis. On Tuesday, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos heralded the opening of the Central Coordinating Body for the Management of Migration, to be headed by a senior military official.

The body will be based in the country's Ministry of Defense and will monitor the creation of five "hot spots" for the processing of migrants on islands off the country's mainland, as well as improving transportation of refugees within the country, Ekathimerini reported.

The change comes after the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that roughly 31 times as many migrants arrived in Greece in January 2016 compared to January 2015.