Fron­tex to boost pa­trols in Aegean for mi­grants

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A joint ac­tion plan drafted by the Greek Po­lice, the Hel­lenic Coast Guard and Fron­tex aims to boost pa­trols in the eastern Aegean in a bid to curb a dra­matic in­flux of mi­grants, Fabrice Leg­geri, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Euro­pean Union’s bor­der mon­i­tor­ing agency, has told Kathimerini.

The key goal of the Euro­pean bor­der guards will be to spot smug­gling ves­sels head­ing to­ward Greece from neigh­bor­ing Tur­key be­fore they en­ter Greek wa­ters and to in­form Turk­ish Coast Guard of­fi­cials so the ves­sels can be re­turned. The Fron­tex of­fi­cials to be dis­patched to Greece are to con­duct sea pa­trols but also land pa­trols on is­lands such as Lesvos and Kos.

Leg­geri said Euro­pean Union mem­ber­states have ap­peared re­luc­tant to con­trib­ute equip­ment, par­tic­u­larly tech­ni­cal equip­ment, that Greek author­i­ties need to ef­fec­tively deal with the mi­gra­tion cri­sis. He said the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s bud­get for oper­a­tions in Greece has been tripled, to 18 mil­lion eu­ros, adding that he was push­ing to se­cure as much aid as pos­si­ble for the coun­try.

A to­tal of 340,000 mi­grants and refugees have en­tered the Euro­pean Union so far this year, he said, blam­ing the in­crease pri­mar­ily on the war in Syria but also on a de­te­ri­o­rat­ing se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Libya, which has dis­cour­aged mi­grants from tak­ing that route.

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