Minister in EU row over fence

Citizens’ Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Tuesday accused the European Union of double standards on the issue of illegal immigration, as Brussels labeled his move to build a fence on Greece’s border with Turkey “pointless.” On Monday Papoutsis visited the site in Evros where the 12.5 km fence is to be built. Brussels confirmed it wouldn’t fund the 5.5-million-euro scheme. “The Commission has decided not to follow up the Greek request because it considers it pointless,” said European Commission spokesman Michele Cercone. “Fences and walls are short-term measures that do not solve migration management issues in a structural way.” Papoutsis argued Greece needs the fence to stop illegal immigration. He accused the EU of hypocrisy. “On one hand they refuse to review Dublin II [the regulation which demands asylum seekers be returned to the EU country of entry] and pressure Greece, threatening it with penalties for failing to guard its borders,” he said. “On the other hand, when measures are taken, they keep their distance and mock.”

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