Tuesday

18th Sep 2018

Greece spooked by Syrian refugees

The surge of Syrian refugees into Turkey has spooked Greece into deploying 1,881 additional guards on its border.

"The deployment of the above border guards has begun today. They will be stationed there [in the Evros region, on the Greek-Turkish frontier] for two months and then they will be replaced by another 1,881 border guards," Greece's ministry of citizen protection told this website in an email on Thursday (2 August).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Syrian girl in the Yayladagi refugee camp, on the Syria-Turkey border (Photo: FredomHouse)

The Panhellenic Association of Border Guard Officers, a trade union, says some 600 border guards are already at the border and that the two-day notice to post the additional 1,881 officers is too short.

"In one night, we are called to abandon our homes and leave our families for two months without any preparation whatsoever and go to the border," a spokesperson of the trade union in Athens told this website.

Greece has just under 4,000 border control guards in total.

The guards are having to leave their other stations for Evros to help stem a flow of irregular migrants which, according to the Greek trade union, is financially benefitting Turkey while draining Greece of resources.

"Every person attempting to cross spends around 60€ to 100€ in Turkey," said the spokesperson.

The trade union also claims that Frontex, the EU border agency, is powerless to stop the migratory flow and fears the situation will get worse.

"The EU needs to change the Dublin regulation because our country has turned into a storage room for immigrants from all over the world," the spokesperson said, referring to an EU law which says that the country where any given migrant first enters the EU is responsible for handling their asylum claim.

The representative was unable to specify how many Syrian refugees have been detected or stopped by the Greek border guards so far.

For its part, the European Commission notes that Greece must "ensure effective access to the asylum procedure" for anybody whom it stops.

Turkey has a total of 44,038 registered refugees from Syria, with more arriving as the crisis intesnifies, according to the United Nations.

The Greek-Turkish border follows the Evros river for around 200km.

The river loops east into Turkey near the Orestiada border town, creating a 12.5-km-wide land-strip where in January some 2,800 migrants tried to cross. The vast majority came from Afghanistan.

Greece is currently erecting a fence topped with razor wire along the land-strip. Construction started in April and should be completed sometime in September.

Greek citizens' protection minister Nikos Dendias told reporters on 25 July that: "In addition to the fence, controls at the entry points will be absolutely intensified within the next period. We will do our best to combat the problem of illegal migration. Any effort within the country is condemned if the entry gates remain open. Our goal, thus, will be to seal them."

For its part, Frontex says it is monitoring the situation in Syria and delivering its assessment of the situation to border authorities in member states and to the European Commission

"Frontex is not involved in co-ordination, management of [the] additional 1,881 police officers that will be deployed to Evros region. The responsibility for border control lies with member states, other member states bring assistance coordinated by Frontex but it does not change the command and control chain that is in Greek hands," Frontex spokesperson Micha Parzyszek told this website in an email.

The agency said that more than 80 percent of the 715 Syrian refugees detected crossing into the EU in the first three months of 2012 occurred on the Greek/Turkish border.

Turkey's spokesperson for foreign affairs, Selcuk Unal, told EUobserver that some Syrian refugees are making their way towards Greece.

He added that Greece has not formally notified the Turkish authorities of the additional border guard deployment.

An informal meeting among EU interior ministers in Cyprus on 23 July 2012 backed an initiative to provide assistance in areas hosting people who are fleeing the conflict in Syria.

"Immediate humanitarian assistance is crucial for the region in the short term and the EU is already making a serious contribution here. We are closely monitoring the situation and developments and stand ready to consider additional actions in case the crisis expands further," said the European Commission in an email.

Greece to deport undocumented migrants

Authorities in Greece rounded up 6,030 undocumented migrants in Athens over the weekend and arrested 1,525 for not meeting the legal conditions for residence.

News in Brief

  1. EU investigating BMW, Daimler and VW 'collusion'
  2. Spain wants special Gibraltar chapter in Brexit deal
  3. Italy cancels Vienna talks over South Tyrol 'dual citizenship'
  4. Britain will not accept Brexit deal with Irish Sea border
  5. Slovakia seeks witness to journalist killing
  6. Finland's Stubb considers running for EU commission job
  7. Romania ponders anti same-sex marriage referendum
  8. EU lawyers back Slovenia in Croatia border dispute

Opinion

Building a Europe more resilient to terrorism

One year to the day since the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, the commissioner for home affairs spells out what action the EU is taking now to protect against further attacks.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Latest News

  1. EU promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers
  2. Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal
  3. New book: Why war is coming
  4. EU parliament will not budge on office expenses
  5. Why Orban's project to reshape EU politics will be unsuccessful
  6. 10 years after Lehman Brothers what has changed for EU consumers?
  7. Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president
  8. Is Russia blackmailing the Council of Europe?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  4. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  5. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  8. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  10. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  12. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us