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FRONTEX opened an office in Piraeus to protect the frontiers from unregulated migration

01 October 2010 / 16:10:22  GRReporter
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The operational office of the European Organisation FRONTEX opened an office in Piraeus today which is expected to contribute to better coordination, more effective external border protection and better management of unregulated migration flows in the entire south-eastern Mediterranean region.  

20 employees in the office of FRONTEX, located in the building of the Ministry of Shipping in Piraeus, will be engaged to coordinate the preparation, organization and the better coordination of the common European operations in the East Mediterranean area.

"There is a 24% decline of unregulated migration from 2009 to 2010 and the reasons are the financial crisis and the changes in the labor market," said at a press conference the Executive Manager of FRONTEX Ilkka Laitinen. According to police data, 90% of immigrants that go to EU countries enter through Greece, which is one of the reason the office of the organization to be opened in Piraeus.

The attempts to illegally cross the seafrontage of Greece fell the last year, but the number of attempts to illegally cross the land frontier between Greece and Turkey has increased. "It is interesting that the visa policy of Turkey and the launch of cheap flights from Africa to Istanbul are among the reasons for the movement of immigrant flows to the land frontier.” “The number of cases of incorrect travel documents as well as of persons who use passports of third parties to cross the border have increased,” said Mr. Laitinen. According to the Greek police, the reason of the flows shift to the land frontier is the lower traffic cost - if the sea transport costs € 3,000, imigrants pay the smugglers about € 500 to transport them by land,” said the Eleftherotipia Newspaper.

The opening of the Frontex office in Piraeus is a historical moment because the coordination function of the organization will serve the region, he added. It is expected the activity of the pilot office to better picture and clarify the situation in the region. The Director General of the Directorate General for Justice, Freedom and Security of the European Commission, Jean Louis De Brouwer, who also attended the press conference in Piraeus, said that the European Commission supports the decentralization of activities. He also stated that the European Commission supports the cooperation of member states for the protection of external borders. The center is in Greece as the country is in a region where the pressure of immigrant flows today is the strongest. And this is not a problem of Greece only but a European issue, said Mr. De Brouwer. He also stated that the work of the office will be assessed by the middle of the next year and stressed that its failure is not an option.

The PASOK deputy Dimitris Karidis said a few days ago that “The migration flows to the islands and the area of Evros are unstoppable. Sanctuary applications were 4,500 in 1997. In 2009 the pending applications were 45,000, ie they have increased ten times and only 1% of them was approved.”

Tags: NewsFRONTEXFrontiersУnregulated migration
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