The European Union on Wednesday said its team of border guards will remain on Greece’s northeastern frontier with Turkey on a permanent basis in an effort to stop the stream of migrants coming into the bloc.
In November, the EU’s border protection agency Frontex sent a 200-member force from 25 EU countries to the Greek-Turkish border areas to provide Greece with emergency assistance in patrolling one of the main points of entry for illegal immigrants into the EU.
The RABIT operation deployed by Frontex was extended for three months, through March 2.
Greece had appealed to Frontex to bolster its presence at the country’s land and sea borders with the aim of averting a possible influx of immigrants from Egypt, Libya and other North African countries.
In Brussels, Cecilia Malmstrom, Commissioner responsible for Home Affairs announced the end of the RABIT operation on Wednesday and the launch of Operation Poseidon in Greece.
‘The immediate launch of the Poseidon joint operation to follow up on the RABIT will ensure continuity in effectively controlling the Greek-Turkish border, as well as in addressing irregular immigration in the Eastern Mediterranean region,’ Malmstrom said in a statement.
Greece is currently increasing its sea and land border patrols over fears that the escalating crisis in Egypt and Libya could trigger a wave of illegal immigrants coming into Europe.