Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Greece boosts border guards, wants tougher EU action

THESSALONIKI, Greece (NWN) – Greece will increase the number of its border guards at the Turkish border, fearing a spike in illegal migration attempts linked to the crisis in Afghanistan, officials said Monday.

Another 250 officers will join the 1,500-strong border force within a few months, with the number rising from 1,000 at the beginning of last year. Around 800 additional border guards will be hired to work at airports and regions close to the Greek-Turkish border.

The increase was driven in part by the Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan, officials said. Greece has tightened its migration policy and border security over the past two years, expanding the wall along its land border with Turkey and installing a high-tech surveillance network to try to keep asylum seekers from crossing the border.

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Greece has also denied growing claims by human rights groups that migrants detained after crossing the border into Greece are deported without due process, unable to apply for asylum.

On Monday, Greek Minister of Migration, Notis Mitarachi, said in parliament that the growing number of front-line countries in the 27 countries of the European Union is demanding tougher measures from the EU’s executive commission to curb migration.

“Europe does not border on belligerent countries. And most of the arriving people are not at risk in the last transit country, so it is important to reconsider how (migration policy) and how border security works, ”Mitarachi said.

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Poland and Lithuania have struggled in recent months to cope with unusually large numbers of migrants, most of them from Iraq and Afghanistan, arriving at their borders with Belarus. They accuse the Belarusian government of encouraging the flow of migrants to put pressure on the entire EU.

Greece, Poland and Lithuania were among 12 countries that sent a letter to the Commission last week calling for broader EU action against illegal immigration.

“This letter was sent by the countries of northern, southern and central Europe,” Mitarachi said.

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Read all NWN stories on global migration at: https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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Follow Cantouris at https://twitter.com/CostasKantouris and Gatopoulos at https://twitter.com/dgatopoulos

Nation World News Desk
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