The European border and coast guard agency Frontex announced on Friday that it has deployed 100 additional border guards to the Greek land border with Turkey. The additional guards, says Frontex, “are part of a rapid border intervention requested by Greece.”
The new border guards have been sent from 22 different EU member states. The same countries have committed to sending technical equipment, including more vessels, maritime surveillance aircraft and thermal-vision vehicles to strengthen the maritime intervention from Frontex in the Aegean.
“The presence of 100 officers from all around Europe underlines the fact that the protection of the area of the European area of freedom, security and justice is a shared responsibility of all member states and Frontex,” said Frontex’ Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri in a press statement. Leggeri spoke to the press during the launch of the new operation in the Greek town of Orestiada.
Frontex underlined the fact that the new guards had arrived “barely a week after the Greek authorities turned to Frontex to provide more officers and more equipment” to help protect EU borders.
“This rapid intervention is an important operational milestone for Frontex, which is currently dedicated to the preparation of the European Border and Coast Guard standing corps,” explained Leggeri.
Additional equipment arriving too
The 100 officers join more than 500 officers already deployed in Greece. The border controls include 11 boats and two planes as well as other specialist equipment. Initially, states Frontex, the extra controls will be in place for the next two months but will be “further extended if needed.”
According to the news agency Associated Press (AP) the Greek authorities have said that they have already prevented “more than 45,000 attempted entries” since the Turkish authorities declared the borders open towards the EU at the end of February.AP added that the Greek government had counted more than 500 attempted entries on Thursday, March 12 alone as clashes between migrants and the Greek authorities broke out at the border.