Evros operation effective but costly

Crackdown on illegal migrant influx to continue thanks to continued EU funding

A massive police crackdown along the Greek-Turkish border which has radically reduced an influx of undocumented immigrants in the country has been costly but will continue next year thanks to continued European Union subsidies, sources have told Kathimerini.

An intensification of border patrols in the northern region of Evros, which has long been favored by people smugglers as a route into Greece, has reduced inflows by 94 percent with the number of migrants intercepted at the border this year down to 1,439 from 23,565 last year.

The operation is believed to have cost some 16 million euros following a decision by the EU’s border monitoring agency, Frontex, to bolster its presence in Evros, according to sources at the Public Order Ministry, who said that government officials and EU representatives are in talks to approve another 10 to 12 million euros in subsidies for policing the border next year.

The ministry is also expected to press for additional funding to cover the cost of creating new temporary migrant detention centers in Attica, Corinth, Drama and elsewhere.

The number of guards patrolling the Greek-Turkish border is expected to be reduced from 1,881 to 1,000 in coming weeks, partly due to the expected completion of a 12.5-killometer barbed-wire border fence but also due to the sharp drop in illegal arrivals through the Evros border crossing.