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Gov't on Frontex, illegal migrants

Δημοσίευση 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2010, 10:41 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Gov't on Frontex, illegal migrants
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Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Tuesday decried the situation in the border region of Evros -- on the border with Turkey -- due to the continuing flow of illegal immigrants and smugglers attempting to enter Greek and EU territory.

Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Tuesday decried the situation in the border region of Evros -- on the border with Turkey -- due to the continuing flow of illegal immigrants and smugglers attempting to enter Greek and EU territory.

“I feel ashamed as a Greek citizen for the situation in Evros ... Every day Greek borders are crossed by roughly 120-150 illegal migrants. This number is half of what it used to be until recently but it is still too large," he stressed.

Papoutsis addressed a Parliamentary committee on public administration, public order and justice, which discussed ratification of the agreement between Greece and Frontex.

Presenting the European dimension of the problem, Papoutsis said Greece is the target of strong criticism for the way it handles the illegal migration problem.

“Our European partners question the country’s ability to meet its obligations stemming from the Schengen agreement ... After last spring’s agreement between prime ministers Papandreou and Erdogan, Turkey has opened the readmission seaports and takes back the illegal migrants arrested in sea operations. This, however, led the migrant smugglers to use the land borders via Istanbul, and as a result, roughly 200-300 illegal migrants were crossing the Greek borders on a daily basis. This means, that an entire village was added to the country’s population every day," he said, charging:

"This is a huge number. Presently, after the deployment of Frontex units, their numbers are smaller but the inflow of illegal migrants continues. Currently, we are between 120 and 150 individuals, which is an equally large number."

“The bottom line is that Greece cannot handle the situation anymore. Greek society has reached its limits. There is no infrastructure. At this moment we are unable to deal with the problem. We need infrastructure and infrastructure needs money. In addition, the agreement of local societies is necessary in order to accept and support new reception centres for illegal migrants,” he stressed.

Papoutsis characterised the operation of the Frontex office in Piraeus as very important, and stressed that the effective and speedy processing of asylum applications coupled with international cooperation for the prosecution of migrant smugglers is the best way to prevent migrant inflow.