Spiegel: EU plans to “seal” Greek-FYROM borders

13 December 2016
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According German Spiegel online, the EU is preparing to send two FRONTEX forces tasked with monitoring the borders between Greece and FYROM and passport checks at the border points, as it estimates the refugee agreement between the EU and Turkey will fall through. It would be the first time since the beginning of the refugee crisis that Frontex forces will be deployed in the region with this function. It is estimated that nearly 60 employees will be sent in January and February. The move comes as a response to Greek authorities’ concerns that the Turkish government will denounce the refugee deal with the EU and push thousands of migrants and refugees towards the Balkan route to enter the EU. The first mission, called “Operation Focal Point 2017″, will focus on passport controls at official border crossings, while the second operation, “Flexible Operational Activities 2017″, is to patrol at the border of the two countries to prevent illegal crossings. Surveillance tasks could also include the collection of intelligence and a vetting process of migrants such as their origin, the routes taken or smugglers’ networks. Top ranking representatives from Frontex and the Greek police inspected the operational area last week. The EU border guards will be on the ground with two teams, while a headquarters will be established in Kilkis, 47 kilometers from the FROM border. The other will be situated at the village of Evzoni near an official border crossing and the former refugee camp Idomeni. An internal police document shows that the deployment of Frontex forces could also be extended to the border of Greece with Albania. To date, Frontex officers on the northern Greek land border were only used to register migrants.

Source: Spiegel

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