Greece has announced that the construction of the controversial anti-migrant wall on the Greek-Turkish border by the Evros River, will be completed shortly. The wall is deemed to have practical and symbolic value.
Work on the razor wired fence began this week in an effort to deter illegal immigrants. Last year 130,000 people entered Greece via the Evros border area. The wall, which will be 12.5km long, is funded by Greece as the European Union declined funding for the wall, with the Commission for EU Home Affairs declaring "The commission has decided not to follow up the Greek request because it considers it pointless. Fences and walls are short-term measures that do not solve migration management issues in a structural way."(Global Security)The EU is quick to criticize Greece though for the problem it has in controlling illegal immigration by those who use Greece as an entryway to Europe. According to Civitas around 90 percent of illegal immigrants enter Europe via the Greek-Turkish border. Under Dublin11 Regulation the country which is used as the point of entry is considered responsible for migrants and if they are apprehended in other European nations they can be returned to their point of entry. However, cash strapped Greece which lacks the funding to deal with illegals, is continually criticized for the conditions illegal immigrants are held in. Greece in turn has called for more help from the European border control agency Frontex to deal with the massive problem.
Greece's Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis responded to the criticism by saying "It is hypocritical to criticise Greece for failing to guard its borders and then criticise it simply because [the country] wants what is a given - to beef up security along the border... Perhaps some people would rather like Greece to become a long-term detention centre for migrants who travel from across the world in the hope of reaching other countries in the European Union. But Greek society can no longer bear the burden."
Thus despite the lack of EU help in funding the migrant wall, Papoutsis has pressed ahead with the plan to proceed with its construction. The EU Observer reports that the European Council on Refugees and Exiles has stated it will be a tragedy if the wall "keeps out people fleeing conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria." Yet those migrants could apply to remain in Turkey, the country they choose to enter Greece from.
Turkey is critical of the construction of the migrant wall yet stands accused by Greece of not doing enough to patrol the border from the Turkish side. Turkey has remained unwilling to sign a readmission agreement so that illegal migrants who enter Europe via Turkey can be returned there, leaving the issue a European problem.