Δευτέρα 15 Ιουλίου 2024
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Evros border fence planned extension becomes Greek election issue

Evros border fence planned extension becomes Greek election issue

The government brings refugee management back to the fore – Mitsotakis visits border – The contract for the construction of 35 km long projects is signed

The need for European support (i.e. resources) for the shielding of the borders through stable infrastructures to prevent illegal flows, such as the Evros fence, is defended by the Greek government, with Kyriakos Mitsotakis officially raising the issue in Brussels, during the Summit, in February. Athens insists on seeking alliances with other front-line countries on this issue, such as Italy, Austria, Cyprus, declaring that in any case the land border works will continue.

“With or without European money, the fence on the Evros will be finished” was the message of Mitsotakis, during his tour of Gerakas yesterday. A year ago, he himself from Komotini made it clear that the government will not take “a step back” in protecting the borders. In fact, at the time the prime minister characterized as a “small European absurdity” the non-provision of funding from Europe, while the importance of finding “innovative ways” to deal with irregular immigration has been emphasized in a letter to the head of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the president of European Council Charles Michel eight countries – Greece, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Malta Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia.

The signing of the contract

The Refugee issue suddenly penetrates the pre-election confrontation in Greece, with the government inviting citizens to compare the images from the islands and the Evros under the SYRIZA government and under the New Democracy government. The prime minister has been on site in Evros since early this morning (he will also be a candidate in this regional unit), planning a tour of Orestiada, Didymoteicho and Soufli.

In the afternoon he will speak at the contract signing event for the construction – extension of the fence to a length of 35 kilometers.

This section (out of a total of 140 km planned over three years) stretches between the settlement of Psathades Didymoteicho and Kornofolia Soufliou, including some of the most “insidious” passages found by traffickers, according to Greek authorities.

The specifications

In short the new fence will feature a strong galvanized steel metal railing, five meters high and six meters deep. It will have an anti-climb structure and will have a barbed concertina on top. The information says that seven “armored” observation posts will be built, while according to the relevant ministries, in 2022, around 250,000 illegal entries from the land borders were prevented.

The leadership of the Citizen Protection Ministry signed the proclamation for the new fence in the middle of last January. For the 35 km section, efforts will be made to complete it within 2023, although a 12-month timetable is more realistic. For the total of 140 kilometers, the Greek side is claiming European funds, with the expectation that this way the times of its implementation could be shortened.

Borderline

A few hours before visiting Evros, Mitsotakis raised his voice against SYRIZA, considering that in the management of the Refugee Agency, the citizens give a positive sign to the New Democracy government. “I want to remind who are those who supported and who are still facing this difficult effort to secure the country’s borders. Just yesterday a SYRIZA MEP supported an amendment asking Europe not to finance the project on the Evros” said the Prime Minister.

His report was made on the occasion of an amendment in the European Parliament with the rapporteur being SYRIZA MEP, Dimitris Papadimoulis. In high tones were the positions of SYRIZA, which accuses the government of colluding with the European extreme right.

SYRIZA’s head of foreign affairs Giorgos Katrougalos accused the prime minister of staging a show. “It takes audacity to insist that instead of European funds going to crisis management, health or infrastructure and equipment that really contribute to border guarding, they should go to new fences,” he said. And he added that Mitsotakis “alone” together with the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni “and the European extreme right and without half of the European People’s Party is claiming the funding of fences from the EU, as the solution to the refugee-immigration problem”.

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Δευτέρα 15 Ιουλίου 2024