Written by Maria Polynaki
Edited by Arpita Sahai
The extension of the fence to the Evros, according to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is a project of utmost importance since it will contribute to further preserving the external borders of both Greece and the European Union in an effort to prevent migration flows, concentrating on strengthening military and police presence at the frontier and modernizing military hardware (ProtoThema, 2023).
Greece will almost double the length of the 5-meter-high steel fence on its border with Turkey amid concerns over a surge of migrants (DW, 2023). According to Greek Civil Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos around 400 people try to enter Greece illegally from Turkey every day, while Greek border guards stopped more than 260,000 people from entering illegally in 2022 and arrested 1,500 suspected traffickers (DW, 2023). Moreover, the 37.5 kilometer border fence is to be extended by another 35 kilometers along the Evros River (DW, 2023). Theodorikakos stated that “the task (of border protection) needs the support of European public opinion, the European Union itself, and each of its constituent members individually” (DW, 2023).
The Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is asking the European Union for financial support to extend his country’s anti-migrant steel fence along the border with Turkey. The question of whether EU member countries’ border fences should be financed with EU money is hugely controversial within the bloc (POLITICO, 2023). Thus, in January 2023, European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson argued that there is no money in the EU budget to finance such projects, but Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlined that, with its border fence, Greece is “contributing toward European security and we are also contributing towards a more integrated and effective European asylum policy” (POLITICO, 2023). The fence expansion will therefore proceed with state financing even without EU funding, which is expected to cost around €100 million (POLITICO, 2023).
The Military extension project
In addition to preventing migration flows, the fence’s expansion will encourage the modernization of military hardware and strengthen the army and police presence at the frontier (Ertnews, 2023). The project centers on solar drones, which will have a limitless 24/7 flight range that wasn’t previously feasible, and cell phone monitoring software, which will notify officials when there is mass communication of people in an area. Modern fiber optic motion detectors will also be incorporated into the project, and the range cameras will now be able to see 15 km inside Turkish land, which is even further into Turkey (The TOC, 2023).
DW. (2023, January 21). Greece expands fence along border with Turkey. – DW – 01/21/2023. (2023, January 21). Deutsche Welledw.com. Retrieved April 3, 2023, from https://www.dw.com/en/greece-expands-fence-along-border-with-turkey/a-64477858.
Ertnews. (2023, March 30). Τι περιλαμβάνει το σχέδιο επέκτασης του φράχτη στον Έβρο – Όλο το χρονοδιάγραμμα. [What is involved in the Evros fence extension plan – The full timetable]. (2023, March 30). Eertnews..gr. Retrieved April 3, 2023, from https://www.ertnews.gr/eidiseis/ellada/politiki/ti-perilamvanei-to-sxedio-epektasis-tou-fraxti-ston-evro-olo-to-xronodiagramma/.
POLITICO. (2023, April 1). Greek prime minister renews call for EU cash for border fence. (2023, April 1). POLITICO. Retrieved April 3, 2023, from https://www.politico.eu/article/kyriakos-mitsotakis-greek-prime-minister-border-fence-anti-migrant-turkey/.
ProtoThema. (2023,March31). Φράχτης στον Έβρο: Τι περιλαμβάνει το έργο της επέκτασης. [Fence on the Evros: What does the extension project include?]. (2023, March 31). ProtoThema. Retrieved April 3, 2023, from https://www.protothema.gr/politics/article/1355637/frahtis-ston-evro-ti-perilamvanei-to-ergo-tis-epektasis-apetrapisan-250000-afixeis-to-2022/.
The TOC. (2023, April 1). Επέκταση φράχτη στον Έβρο: Απροσπέλαστος- Λογισμικό εντοπισμού κινητών, ανιχνευτές και αντιβαλλιστικά παρατηρητήρια. [Evros Fence Extension: Inaccessible- Mobile tracking software, detectors and anti-ballistic observatories]. The TOC. Retrieved April 3, 2023, from https://www.thetoc.gr/politiki/article/epektasi-fraxti-ston-ebro/.