NEWS

Frontex mission in Evros is extended

An anti-migrant crackdown in the northern region of Evros by members of Frontex?s Rapid Border Intervention Team (RABIT) officially ends on Thursday, but Frontex guards are to remain at the Turkish border until the end of the year at least as an extension of the agency?s Poseidon operation that was launched at the country?s sea border with Turkey in 2006.

Frontex guards will also be deployed along the Greek-Bulgarian border, according to European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, who described the RABIT operation as ?a concrete demonstration of European solidarity.?

The RABIT operation has reduced the influx of illegal immigrants into Greece from Turkey by an estimated 75 percent.

Malmstrom encouraged Greece to improve its cooperation with Turkey in curbing illegal immigration. The commissioner also called on Athens to improve detention conditions for immigrants and asylum seekers.

?Vulnerable groups such as families, children, pregnant women and victims of abuse must receive special attention and consideration,? she said.

All migrants arriving in Greece should be received in ?human and dignified conditions,? the commissioner added. She said the EC would continue to monitor the situation at the Greek-Turkish border.

Greece received around 200 million euros in EU subsidies and emergency funding between 2007 and 2011 for boosting its border operations, improving health services for refugees, upgrading detention facilities and boosting the efficiency of the asylum application processing system.

Greek authorities last month asked Frontex to bolster its presence at the country?s borders to avert a possible influx of immigrants from Egypt and other North African countries. Frontex guards first arrived in Evros last October, when EU border guards were making an average of 245 arrests a day.