There is talk of a fence. Along the border with Turkey. Some 205 kilometres long. To keep out the “unwanted”. Like the border between the US and Mexico, it would be long and high and would solve a “problem”. As with all short-term short-sighted solutions, it has been harshly criticised by people who can understand that walls and fences are not the answer.
The plan for this barrier to keep immigrants out have since been toned down.
The only comments on part of the EU executive so far, the European Commission, have come from Michele Cercone, spokesman person for Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malstroem.
“Fences and walls have, in the past, proven to be really short-term measures that don’t help to address and manage migratory challenges in a more consolidated and structural way… [Greece] needs sound and long-term structural reforms and measures in order to better manage its border, address the challenges linked to migration flows and create a sound and efficient asylum system,” he said.
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The EU is also sending 10 million euros and two teams of experts
to help the country deal with a tide of asylum seekers, EU officials said Wednesday.
Greece in recent months has sent out repeated pleas for EU help after the number of asylum seekers entering the country rose sharply. The EU has already deployed border patrols to help guard the frontier, but has criticized Greece’s asylum system.
‘The humanitarian situation of migrants and asylum-seekers in Greece is extremely worrying. Improving the reception facilities is very urgent,’ EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement published in Brussels.
The EU is sending Greece 9.8 million euros in aid and dispatching two expert teams to ‘assist the Greek authorities in supporting the reform of the national asylum system,’ the statement said.
The funding will ‘focus on increasing the accommodation capacity, including the provision of basic services to the persons in need, setting up mobile medical units, and institutional support to process asylum claims,’ it said.
Greece has a poor reputation for dealing with asylum seekers and has regularly been criticized by human-rights bodies for the conditions in which it detains them.
The Greek government is currently overhauling the asylum system, but is faced by massive budget cuts triggered by its financial collapse earlier this year, making reforms difficult.