NEWS

Evros border fence extension mulled

STAVROS TZIMAS

Migrants trying to reach Greece visit an old route, the watery border river of Evros.

TAGS: Migration

With the goal of containing the seemingly uncontrollable flow of migrants over land from Turkey, the government is reportedly mulling a plan to make the Evros River on the country’s northeast border impenetrable by extending an already existing iron fence in Orestiada along its entire length.

The project will be no easy feat, technically or financially, as the Evros stretches for over 230 kilometers on the Greek side of the border.

To compound matters, if the river breaks its banks in winter – not a rare phenomenon – the fence could come down.

However, despite the difficulties involved in bringing such a plan to fruition, a fence is still considered an effective means of prevention, as demonstrated by the one that already exists in Orestiada.

A similar steel-enforced fence put up by Bulgaria and stretching over 250 kilometers along its border with Turkey has also proven highly effective.

For the time being, the government is seriously considering the plan, given that there are no signs that the migrants flows will let up any time soon.

Furthermore, there are no indications that Turkey will stop using the refugee/migrant issue as a weapon in the years to come – by threatening to send more people over the border if its demands are not met, depending on the state of Greek-Turkish relations and those between Ankara and Europe.

In the meantime, the numbers of migrants crossing the river are increasing and they are often seen in groups crossing the Egnatia Highway and passing through the villages in the area – in particular the region of Rodopi, to the increasing dismay of local communities.

As of late, many of these migrants have been seeking shelter from the cold in warehouses and farm buildings where they light fires to keep warm. In certain cases this has led to fires that have destroyed installations and equipment, prompting the wrath of locals, who have also reported a rise in thefts and petty crime.

Online