Greece will renew a request for European Union funds in 2022 to extend a wall on its border with Turkey to stop illegal migration, the Associated Press reported on Monday.
“We believe the security on our own borders is linked to the security of the EU,” public order minister Takis Theodorikakos told a parliamentary committee on Friday, which was made public on Monday, AP said.
Athens also promised to expand a powerful surveillance network along the frontier, the news wire reported.
Migration is one of a disputed string of contentious issues between Turkey and Greece. Athens frequently accuses Ankara of using asylum seeking migrants at its borders with Greece, saying that the Turkish government is obliged to stop migrants covertly entering Greece under the EU-Turkey deal to stem migration flows.
Under the accord signed in 2016, Turkey agreed to curb the flow of migrants and refugees into the EU via Greece, in exchange for 6 billion euros to support refugee-related services.
In 2020, clashes erupted on the Greek-Turkish border. Greek authorities used tear gas and a water cannon to hold back thousands of refugees and migrants trying to push through Greece’s eastern border with Turkey following a decision by the latter to sanction free passage of migrants and refugees to EU territory.
Greece has every reason to expect some countries bordering the EU to continue to exploit migration, Theodorikakos said, citing a recent crisis in Belarus on its border with Poland.
A control centre processing data from newly-built border surveillance towers equipped with long-range cameras and multiple sensors is due to begin operating early next year, Theodorikakos said.
“This automated system gives us many operational advantages and helps us monitor the entire border region,” he said.
The Greek government completed a 26-kilometre (16-mile) extension of a steel border wall to make the barrier span 38-kilometre (24-mile), AP said.
Turkey also blames Greece for migrant pushbacks across the Aegean Sea, saying that it is a crime against humanity.