EU ministers call for Trump-style border wall amid surge in illegal border crossings

Some European Union member states have called on organizations to help build new border barriers as illegal border crossings have increased in recent months across Europe.

On January 21, special envoys from 26 European Union member states, as well as from Switzerland and the United Kingdom, visited Greece, where Greek Civil Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos showed them the expanding border wall and explained the extent of its border security measures. He called for EU support for growth and sustainment.

“task [of protecting the border] We need the individual support of European public opinion, the EU itself and its constituent members, ”said Theodoricakos. “It is our firm position that the member states of the first reception cannot participate [the migrants’] European destinations only. ”

“We need solidarity and a fair division of duties among Member States … close coordination is essential,” he added.

Greece currently has 17 miles of barriers along its border, and Theodorikakos recently announced plans to add about 87 more miles of barriers in 2023. On January 7, Theodorikakos said construction was already underway on the first new section of the wall. Covers almost 22 miles.

The Greek border wall consists of a row of 16-foot vertical steel beams topped with non-slip metal scaling barriers and razor wires. Former President Donald Trump pursued a similar wall design during his presidency, using his 18 to 30-foot steel beams covered with metal plates.

First illegal trip in 6 years

Most of the movements of illegal immigrants to EU member states pass through Turkey.

Greece’s northeastern border and fellow EU member Bulgaria’s southern border are linked to Turkey. Many of the illegal crossing attempts were made over the Evros River, which forms a natural barrier between Greece and Turkey. According to Theodorikakos, Greek authorities will block the travel of his 256,000 migrants in 2022 and arrest 1,300 traffickers.

Frontex, the EU’s main border security agency, recently share Preliminary data showing 330,000 irregular border crossings detected along the EU’s external borders in 2022.

“This is the highest number since 2016 and a 64% increase from the previous year,” said Frontex.

When 28 envoys visited Greece on Saturday, Theodoricakos stressed that Greece’s borders are also the EU’s external borders.

Cyprus Ambassador Kyriakos Kenevezos shared concerns about border security in Greece and spoke of the “need for understanding” from countries with no external EU borders during a recent visit to Greece.

Although the UK is no longer part of the EU, Ambassador Matthew Lodge also showed UK cooperation on the new border security initiative.

“Our priority is to protect the lives and dignity of those endangered by criminal trafficking networks … We are no longer members of the EU, but we are working closely together,” it said. Lodge said.

Dutch justice and security secretary Eric van der Berg has shown he is open to EU funding to increase border barriers, Reuters report.

Theodorikakos said Frontex will send about 400 border guards to Greece to assist the country’s existing border guards, which consist of about 1,800 members.

other wall

While Greece is expanding its border wall and strengthening border guards to deal with the influx of illegal immigrants, Poland is pursuing a new border barrier for another reason: the ongoing war in Ukraine. .

Poland borders Belarus, an ally of Ukraine and Russia. In November, Polish Interior Minister Marius Kaminski said: Said Illegal immigration from Belarus is “motivated by political considerations and aimed at destabilizing the situation in the region.”

Poland is pursuing both physical and electronic barriers consisting of motion sensors, daytime, infrared, and infrared cameras to detect border crossing attempts.

returning immigrants

In addition to an increase in illegal border crossings, a large number of migrants have reportedly arrived in the EU and few have returned to their countries of origin.

“There has been a significant increase in irregular arrivals of migrants,” EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said Thursday in a meeting with the EU’s 27 immigration ministers, according to Reuters. “Our return rate is very low and we can make great strides here.”

The EU is grappling with about 20 countries that will not cooperate in reclaiming their citizens whom EU member states have determined do not have the right to remain in Europe. Only about one-fifth are returned safely from those countries.

Opposition to new restrictions

While there is growing support for border barriers and returning migrants, some activists say the security measures violate the rights of refugees and those seeking asylum from their home countries.

“European Member States are using technology to detect and stop crossings instead of installing new fences (e.g. on the Belarusian border) or providing assistance (e.g. on the Belarusian border). , is clearly continuing to make access to international protection as difficult as possible (e.g. Greece’s external borders),” said the Danish Refugee Council, a refugee advocacy organization. report on thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

from NTD News