NEWS

Athens wants to extend Evros border fence

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The government wants to extend the fence on the Greek-Turkish border in Evros, recent diplomatic initiatives by Greek officials in Brussels have demonstrated.

Kathimerini understands that Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis sent a letter to the European Union’s home affairs commissioner, Ylva Johansson in early October to examine the possibility of the EU financing Greece’s plans for the extension of the fence.

Mitarakis informed Johansson about Greece’s intention to include the construction of a new artificial barrier in the financial program for the period 2021-2027, without referring to further details of the project. 

However, Johansson rejected the Greek request in her letter of reply, reiterating that Greece has (under the Schengen agreement) an obligation to guard its borders effectively.

She said she was willing to finance the purchase and installation at the border of technological equipment for surveillance, but not to cover the cost of building a new fence with EU funds.

According to sources, for months now the leadership of the Hellenic Police (ELAS) and the Ministry of Citizens’ Protection have been in possession of a proposal for the construction of an additional 35 kilometer-long fence along the river borders of Greece and Turkey. 

The proposal by police officials is for the fence to cover the distance from Didymoteicho to Tychero, along which the Evros River serves as a natural border. Police sources say that the greatest “pressure” is concentrated in this area, judging by the arrests of illegal migrants and traffickers.

A 12.5 km fence has existed at the land border since 2011, while the construction of a new stretch of fencing of 27.5 km was completed recently.