Armed EU to keep out migrant flow

The numbers of immigrants seeking passage through the porous Turko-Greek border has quadrupled in the past year. With the Greek government unable to cope, Frontex, Europe’s external borders agency is to deploy armed guards to the region.

Published on 26 October 2010 at 09:22

A new force of armed European guards is to be dispatched to Greece to patrol the country’s border with Turkey in an attempt to stem steeply increasing illegal immigration into Europe. The deployment of the Rapid Intervention Border Teams, assembled from the border guard forces of other European countries, will be the first time Brussels has deployed multinational armed units on the EU’s external land border.

The teams are to arrive in Greece within days, the European commission announced on 25 October, although the precise numbers and makeup are yet to be decided. A commission official said: “This is a new front. The teams are armed, but they can only use their arms in self-defence.”

Struggling to cope with the hundreds of migrants who are entering Greece every day through an inhospitable, unmonitored stretch of the country’s border with Turkey near the town of Edirne, Athens appealed to Brussels for help at the weekend. “The flows of people crossing the border irregularly have reached alarming proportions,” said Cecilia Malmström, commissioner for home affairs. “Greece is manifestly not able to face this situation alone.” Read full article in the Guardian

From Athens

Frontex sizes up the Greek front

“To cope more effectively with the waves of illegal immigration into our country, Frontex, the European border security agency, has come to see for itself,” reports To Ethnos. Frontex and Greek police will assess the scale of the migratory phenomenon in Evros, on Greece’s northern border to Turkey. “These past few months have seen record-breaking immigration levels,” explains the left-leaning paper; “90% of the illegal immigrants arrested in Europe are apprehended in Greece.” To Ethnos sees the visit as “a victory for the current Greek administration: the EU is finally realising that Greece’s borders are Europe’s borders”. Furthermore, adds the daily, “the Greek security minister stated that Turkey is a transit country for immigrants and that the real problem lies in Greece”. As a matter of fact, according to Frontex, three-quarters of the 40,000 immigrants to Greece this year passed through Turkey.

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