EU police battle surge in illegal immigrants November 7, 2010Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Human rights abuses, Yunanistan.
Tags: EU, Greece
European Union border teams have arrived in north-eastern Greece to help authorities stem an influx of migrants across its border with Turkey.
It is the first time that a rapid-intervention border team has been deployed to an EU member state since the Frontex teams were created in 2007.
Frontex agreed to send the team of 175 officials last month after Greece asked the EU agency for help because of the increasing number of refugees – mainly from Africa and Afghanistan – attempting to cross the border to find their way into the EU.
Personnel and equipment from Germany, Romania, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and Denmark will be deployed along the border. The mission is expected to last for two months and efforts will focus on policing a previously unguarded 12-kilometre river border between the towns of Nea Vyssa and Orestiada.
The Greek daily Kathimerini said more than 30,000 migrants had entered the EU across the narrow stretch of river. Frontex recorded a sixfold increase there in the number of immigrants trying to enter Greece in the second quarter of this year.
More people are trying to cross via Turkey because a previously used route from Libya to Italy was closed last year by a controversial bilateral agreement which allows Italian vessels to turn back migrants’ boats caught at sea.
According to United Nations officials, 300 to 400 migrants enter Greece each day, which has lead to a crisis in the country’s migrant detention system.
Last week the United Nations called on EU states to stop all transfers of asylum seekers back to Greece under the Dublin II agreement due to the poor conditions they face in the country.
The Dublin agreement allows states to send asylum seekers back to the country where they first entered the EU to have their application processed.
Last month Greece, which has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration, had a backlog of more than 52,000 asylum claims waiting to be processed.