Greece, Bulgaria to jointly patrol borders

Greece, Bulgaria to jointly patrol borders

Greek and Bulgarian police are to start joint patrols along the Greek-Bulgarian and Bulgarian-Turkish borders in a bid to prevent undocumented migrants from continuing their journeys via the so-called Balkan Route.

Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas discussed the matter with Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Rumiana Bachvarova during a recent visit to Sofia.

A ministry statement said that the talks were “extremely cordial” and that the matter was examined while details about the exact location of the planned patrols remain to be determined.

A Greek Police official involved in the planning for the joint patrols told Kathimerini that both Greece and Bulgaria have come under European pressure to thwart migrants and refugees who entered Greece from Turkey and aim to continue on to Central and Western Europe.

In March, Albanian and Italian police started joint patrols of the Greek-Albanian border in a bid to stop migrants traveling onward into Europe.

Meanwhile, as flows to the Aegean islands continue, uncertainty over the future of refugees and migrants stranded in Greece has also raised tension in mainland camps.

Scuffles broke out on Wednesday at Diavata in northern Greece – one of the country’s most organized facilities – leading to the withdrawal of NGOs providing healthcare.

Tensions at the camp of 973 people also flared last week, forcing the shutdown of its medical center for four days.

A source from an NGO that is active at Diavata said that recent reports that the camp will continue to operate outraged refugees who believe this will extend their stay for many months to come.

The fact that some migrants and refugees are staying at hotels and apartments has also fueled resentment, as camp resident want to secure the better conditions for themselves and their families.

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