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FRONTEX were ready to help Greece back in October

13 December 2015 / 18:12:43  GRReporter
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"Since October, we have had teams from other member states on the ready to be sent to Greece. But we were delayed as the Greek team leaders had not been nominated," Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri said emphatically in an interview with Kathimerini. He added, that another 19 Greeks had been appointed this week, but 12 more were still needed.


The FRONTEX assignment focuses primarily on registration of refugees and illegal immigrants on the Aegean islands.

It is expected that at Greece's request 448 Frontex officers will be seconded to Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros.

Leggeri also said that at least 50 Frontex staffers will be sent to Idomeni on the Greek-Macedonian border.

Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kodzias said that Greece is paying for third countries as far as the refugee problem is concerned.

In a talk on Mega TV, Kodzias stressed that, in view of the tourist season in 2016, higher priority should be given to addressing the refugee question on the islands, where the influx is the strongest. He believes there should be a stepping up of the effort on the islands, and Alternate Minister of Tourism Elena Kountoura has already taken some measures.


"We neither wanted war in Syria or Iraq nor tried to interfere. This is the message we are putting across to our partners. An understanding with Turkey should be reached. I'd like to remind you that our partners pledged to accept 150,000 refugees from Greece, but at the end of the day only Luxembourg took 30,000," said Kodzias. According to his estimates, Greece has spent somewhere between €1.8 and €2 billion for the refugees' accommodation, transport and food.

As far as the wave of migrants from Morocco is concerned, Kodzias pointed out there are quite a few criminals among them. According to him, they use low-cost flights to Istanbul, and shouldn't be allowed to exit Turkey and enter Greece.

According to the minister, the problem lies in Frontex rules, which provide that the organisation should prevent the entry into a country rather than the exit from a country. Moreover, its officers work until 14:00 and are off-duty during weekends.

Kodzias pointed out that Turkey, Greece and Germany are the countries that are the most interested in solving the refugee problem. "We will take the initiative and invite Merkel and Erdogan to Chios, then will move across to Izmir, to see both sides. We haven't fixed the date yet, but it will probably happen in February," said the minister. He believes the target should be to have constant dialogue with Turkey without intermediaries.

Tags: Frontex refugees migrants Nikos Kodzias
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