Greece?s problems with undocumented immigrants — both incoming and outgoing — appeared as insuperable as ever on Wednesday, as the European Court of Justice delivered the latest in a series of rulings rapping the country for its treatment of asylum seekers, while reports from the western coastline suggested that smugglers continue to tax the police and coast guard.
After examining two cases centering on Greece, the European Union?s highest court ruled that asylum seekers should not be sent to member states where they risk being ?subjected to inhuman treatment.?
However, the ruling also cited evidence showing that 90 percent of illegal immigrants enter the bloc through Greece, noting that this places a ?disproportionate burden? on the country.
As the external border state on the EU?s southeastern flank, Greece also has the difficult task of preventing undocumented immigrants from traveling onward to Western Europe. The western port of Patra remains a popular gateway for would-be migrants. But, Kathimerini has learned, human traffickers have started using other ports along the country?s western coast.
According to police and coast guard sources, hundreds of immigrants have been intercepted at the ports of Kryoneri, Mesolongi and Astakos since September.
One of the reasons for the activity along the western coastline is believed to be the intensification of inspections at the port of Patra, which was recently renovated.
Still, Patra remains a popular starting point for would-be migrants with hundreds caught trying to sneak onto ferries bound for Italy every day.