The EU border agency Frontex said earlier this week that it had deployed 293 guards and 15 boats to the Greek islands to help the Greek authorities to deal with migratory pressures. Sending troops and necessary equipment was a response to the pleas of Athens but it comes in a lesser amount that initially expected. Frontex further said in an official statement that the number of guards would be increased to over 400 over time and there would be more vessels and technical equipment as part of a fast-intervention mechanism called ‘Poseidon Rapid’. The mechanism allows Frontex to thwart the need for decision-making, making EU Member States to contribute instantly. “This is what Frontex can provide,” agency spokeswoman, Ewa Montcure, commented while stressing that the intensity of migrant flows had been going down recently.
Frontex had also asked Greece’s EU partners to provide 600 border experts after an influx of migrants in mid-2015, especially from Syria, but they have been very slow to respond. However, a number of research studies estimate that every day thousands of migrants and refugees are still arriving on Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast. Frontex estimates that the number for December could reach up to 80,000. According to the Greek migration ministry, the number of guards being sent to its islands “is still below what we expected”. The migration minister, Iannis Mouzalas, had requested 1,600 guards to be sent to the country, which has been serving as the EU’s entry point accounting for more than 80 percent of 2015’s one million arrivals.
Frontex, the EU border surveillance agency, collects data on detections by national border-control authorities of illegal crossings of the EU’s external borders. During the first six months of 2015, most illegal migrants entered the block through Eastern Mediterranean (about 132,000 most of them being from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan) and through Western Balkans (about 102,000 most of them being from Afghanistan, Syria and Kosovo).