Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met Executive Director of Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Fabrice Leggeri, to discuss the strong cooperation between the agency and Greek authorities to together protect the EU’s external borders.
“This meeting was extremely rewarding for our agency, recognising the role Frontex has played over the years to assist Greece at its borders, helping to deal with the large numbers of migrants, as well as combat cross-border crime. We are committed to supporting Greece,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.
During his visit, the Frontex Executive Director also spoke with Greece’s Minister of Citizens Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis, Minister for Shipping and Island Policy Ioannis Plakiotakis and Minister of Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarachi.
Earlier, Mr Leggeri also met with border guard officers and document experts working at the Athens airport. With the tourist season commencing, Frontex officers are assisting their Greek colleagues in checking for fake documents and with other border controls to make crossing the borders more convenient and safer for all travellers.
Frontex currently deploys the largest number of officers from its standing corps in Greece, with 660 working shoulder-to-shoulder with their Greek counterparts at the sea, land and air borders. Frontex also has 16 vessels in the Eastern Aegean and other heavy equipment on the Greek islands and land borders.
Thanks to the deployment of the standing corps, officers are able to be deployed in the operational area for longer period of time and teams can be adjusted to operational needs. These teams include specialised officers, such as advanced document experts to tackle the phenomenon of the use of false documents. Frontex also provides support in returns and is ready to support readmissions from the Greek islands to Turkey when they resume.
Greece has taken significant steps to expand its capacity to host the growing number of Frontex officers and accommodate the professionalisation of the standing corps.
“Our growing partnership with Greece shows the benefits of European cooperation, as well as the opportunities provided by the establishment of the European Border and Coast Guard standing corps. This year, many tourists passing through Greece will see border guards wearing EU uniforms for the first time,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.