Greece needs EU help to protect external borders, minister says

Greece needs EU help to protect external borders, minister says

Protecting Greece’s borders requires the support of the European Union, the country’s Citizens’ Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos told 27 foreign ambassadors during a visit in the northeastern town of Alexandroupoli, where he briefed them about the Akritas plan to protect the border with Turkey at Evros.

“The security of European states and their citizens presupposes dealing with illegal immigration and protecting external borders here in Greece,” Theodorikakos told the envoys.

“Our meeting here today sends a message of unity and solidarity and expresses our common will for effective protection of the European borders with Turkey, for the implementation of international law, and our determination for peace, stability and cooperation in the wider area of the Southern Mediterranean,” he added.

In 2022, authorities prevented 260,000 illegal migrants from entering the country, while around 1,500 human traffickers were arrested, the minister said., while each day, around 300-400 illegal migrants are prevented by the Greek border guards from crossing into the country.“The threat is active,” he told the ambassadors. 

Theodorikakos welcomed the “positive role” of EU border agency Frontex and announced that in 2023 another 400 people will be added to the force – 250 of whom will take up service in February. A total of 1,800 border guards currently serve in the region.

The ambassadors represent EU member-states associated with the Schengen Treaty, the UK and Switzerland.

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