World, Europe

Greece, Bulgaria to join forces on border security

Greek media reports say Athens and Sofia will cooperate to secure Greece's borders with Bulgaria and Turkey

08.09.2016
Greece, Bulgaria to join forces on border security FILE PHOTO

Atina

By Idyli Tsakiri

ATHENS 

Greece and Bulgaria are set to join forces to better protect porous borders from undocumented migration, according to Greek media reports Thursday.

Meeting in Sofia on Aug. 30, Greece’s deputy minister for citizens’ protection, Nikos Toskas, and Bulgaria’s interior minister, Rumiana Bachvarova, discussed the possibility of police forces from both countries cooperating to better protect Greece’s border with Bulgaria and Turkey from undocumented migrants crossing, according to Greek daily Kathimerini and other outlets.

According to a statement issued by the Greek Ministry of Citizens’ Protection after the meeting, the refugee crisis and security topped its agenda.

Toskas was traveling and unavailable for comment on the reports.

Even though the number of migrants and refugees crossing into Europe has dropped significantly since an EU-Turkish deal was signed in March, lately there has been a slight uptick in arrivals on the Greek islands.

Specifically, according to UNHCR data, more than 800 migrants and refugees have crossed from Turkey to Greece since the beginning of September.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to control the migration flow in exchange for additional financial support in order to support the refugees in Turkey and, also, visa liberation for his country’s citizens traveling in the Schengen zone.

However, the March agreement is in jeopardy since the EU has yet not granted visa liberation to Turkish citizens. Erdogan and other top officials have repeatedly said that unless Europe holds up its end of the deal, Turkey will no longer respect the agreement.

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