New funding for the Greek Coast Guard has not been approved, the refusal of the EU Commission is based on the so-called “illegal deportation”.
As DER SPIEGEL magazine reported in today’s article, the Commission has no plans to respond to Greece’s request for funding of € 15.8 million for Coast Guard activities. Ilva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, says that in order to meet Greece’s request, an independent mechanism must be created in the country to monitor the observance of fundamental rights. The relevant working group has already been recruited.
Back in March, Yiannis Plakiotakis, Greece’s Minister of Shipping and Island Policy, made a request for funding. However, the reason for the refusal is the treatment of immigrants by the Greek Coast Guard in the Aegean Sea. Accusations from both humanitarian organizations and international media have been heard for a long time. They concern the illegal repatriation of migrants from the territorial waters of Greece to Turkish ones. That is, Greece is accused of violating international law, as it prevents migrants from exercising their right to seek asylum.
If the case concerned only Greece, it would be easier. But Frontex, the EU’s agency for the security of external borders, is also involved in the situation, and this put the Commission in a rather difficult position. Non-governmental organizations have accused Frontex of stopping migrant inflatable boats off the Aegean coast and then handing them over to the Greek coast guard. That, in turn, returns migrants to Turkish territorial waters. However, Frontex insists that it considers such actions to be absolutely correct.
Negotiations between the Greek government and the Commission have been ongoing since June. Athens believes in “some” compromise and ultimately achieving its goal, Spiegel emphasizes. The massive expected influx of Afghans is quite capable of causing Brussels to change its mind. According to Athens, the new Greek line of “aggressive control” of the borders is helping to stop the flow of refugees into the Aegean Sea. Sources of the publication in the Greek capital express confidence that “some compromise” with the Commission on immediate assistance will be reached.
As our newspaper reported, hundreds of Afghans have already left Istanbul and moved to Edirne, located on the Evros River on the border with Greece. Immigrants went en masse to the Greek-Turkish border after fake messages on the Internet about the opening of the Greek borders. “Greece has opened its borders and we want to go to Europe,” they say. Turkey, as always, acts on the principle of “ours and yours”, opening up to the Taliban and “bargaining” with Europe over a new wave of refugees. And the rumors circulating in Turkey about the open borders of Greece do not seem accidental.
Accusations against Greece do not sound the first time… Two years ago, the German edition Spiegel accused Greece of illegal and forcible expulsion of refugees and immigrants from the Evros region to Turkey. And the online magazine Focus noted: “Meanwhile, the flows of refugees from Turkey to Greece are constantly increasing (…). As a result, refugee camps in the Greek islands remain overcrowded, although at least a hundred immigrants arrive in Greece overland every day. These are people who have a good chance of getting asylum in Greece. ”