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article imageAthens' Ambassador to US: Greece swamped by illegals

By Katerina Nikolas     Mar 4, 2013 in World
Athens - The Athens' Ambassador to the U.S. says Greece has been hit by a devastating wave of illegal immigration. He asserts that EU partners offer little practical support to cope with this economic burden.
Defence Net reported U.S. Ambassador Christos P. Panagopoulos gave a frank interview to the Washington Times in which he spoke of how Greece is swamped with a devasting wave of illegal immigration.
Panagopoulos told the WT: “For a country of 10.11 million, to have 1 million [immigrants], most of them illegal in a period of hardship and economic crisis, it’s devastating."
Most illegals enter Greece via the Greek-Turkish border, with the intention of using Greece as an entry point into Europe. Panagpoulos stressed "Unfortunately, our Turkish friends are not very cooperative on this issue."
European directive Dublin ll stipulates that illegals must be returned to their European country of entry, in most cases Greece. Greece has an obligation to prevent undocumentated migrants passing to other European countries, forcing Greece to patrol the port city of Patras where many illegals attempt to cross into Italy by ferry.
The ambassdor said Greece has raised the issue with other EU nations: "Under the current circumstances, Greece cannot afford this burden by itself. Up to now — let me say cynically — that we get all the good words; but when it comes to practical measures, we don’t have that much support."
Greece is in her fifth year of deep recession and struggling under Troika imposed austerity measures which are only deepening the crisis. Human rights organizations constantly criticise the inadequate provision Greece offers to illegal immigrants, though remain silent on the dramatic leap in crime attributed to immigrants. The issue highlights the country's policitical split between the extreme left and nationalists.
More about illegal immigrants greece, Christos P Panagopoulos, frontex, Arab Spring migrants
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