KASTANIES, Greece – Anti-migrant governments in Austria and Poland, who shut their door to refugees and migrants, are sending police to help Greece guard its border – also the outer edge of the European Union – to keep out more sent there by Turkey.
About 10,000 refugees and migrants were massed at the border along the Evros River after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would no longer abide by a 2016 swap deal with the European Union.
That was designed to keep millions of refugees and migrants in Turkey, where they had gone fleeing war and strife in their homelands, especially Afghanistan and the civil war in Syria, where the deaths of 33 Turkish soldiers led Erdogan to fear another influx.
Austria and Poland will send dozens of police officers, said Kathimerini, their governments having closed their borders to refugees and migrants, as has the EU, dumping the problem largely on Greece, along with Italy, Spain and Malta.
Not only is Austria not refusing to accept any migrants, it has stepped up guarding its own border which is protected by some 2,500 troops, said info.cz
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a hardliner, said he is worried about a new migration wave, saying that he fears a “storm” or an attack on the border after Turkey opened its gates and that Austria would aid Greece, which closed its border.
“Millions of people could embark on their journey to Europe if the Turkish-Greek border falls or if they get the impression that they will be able to pass,” said Kurz on Austrian state television ORF.
He likened the situation to the beginning of the refugee and migrant crisis in 2015 when more than a million flooded the bloc, mostly through Greece’s islands and land border before the EU closed the door, leaving Greece exposed.
Now though, he said there’s a big difference: “Today, the external border of Greece is protected,” Kurz said, after the New Democracy government reacted swiftly to keep out the hordes gathered at the border with Turkey.
Sources not identified told Kathimerini that Poland has already agreed to send 100 police officers and is prepared to send more if requested. Austria said it would send 13 police special forces officers to guard the border, where the New York Times said Greek vigilantes are also patrolling.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due to hold talks in Vienna with Kurz, trying to further build up an international alliance against Turkey, after the Greek leader got support in Berlin from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Cyprus has also sent 22 police officers, while the EU’s border agency, Frontex, will assign another 100 although guarding the borders hasn’t worked well for almost five years, with Turkey letting human traffickers keep sending refugees and migrants to Greek islands.
All of the foreign forces will be under the supervision of the Greek police (ELAS) and armed forces from the Army.