Fall in number of migrants caught at Evros border crossing

There was a significant reduction in the number of undocumented migrants detected crossing into Greece in the northeastern Evros region in the last few months of 2012 after a substantial increase in the number of border guards, the European Commission said on Monday in its biannual report on free movement in the Schengen area.

“While Greece reported more than half of all detections of irregular border crossing from July-September 2012, this situation changed in August 2012, when Greece redeployed around 1,800 border guards at its land border with Turkey,” the Commission said.

“From October-December 2012, Italy reported 31 percent of all detections (4,231 persons), followed by Greece, reporting 30 percent of the detections (4,035 persons).”

In a related matter, the Greek police said on Monday that 565 foreign nationals were returned to their homelands in May. Of these, 264 were deported and 301 left voluntarily as part of an EU-funded repatriation scheme run by the International Organization for Migration in Greece.