Greece seeks EU help to extend border wall as part of pledge to stop illegal immigration

Officials in Greece say they plan to renew a request for European Union funding next year to extend a wall along the country’s border with Turkey while also pledging to increase a powerful surveillance network in order to stop illegal immigrants.

Greek public order minister Takis Theodorikakos told a parliamentary panel that the nation is expecting some countries that border the EU to continue exploiting illegal migration as a means of putting political pressure on member states. He cited a recent border crisis in Belarus involving migrants attempting to cross into Poland and other EU countries.

“We have every reason to expect that these kinds of threats will continue,” Theodorikakos noted during Friday’s parliamentary briefing, which was released to the public on Monday.

The center-right government in Athens has implemented stricter migration policies as well as completed a 16-mile steel border wall extension, bringing the span to 24 miles in total.

“We believe the security on our own borders is linked to the security of the EU,” Theodorikakos added, noting further that normally, border fences and walls are funded by national governments.

He also said that a control center that takes in and processes data from several newly-constructed border surveillance towers that feature multiple censors and long-range cameras is scheduled to begin operations early next year. The system, which employs artificial intelligence, is designed to track several incidents at once taking in data from surveillance systems and identifying the most serious for border guards.

“This automated system gives us many operational advantages and helps us monitor the entire border region,” said Theodorikakos.

In his briefing, Theodorikakos said that the wall and high-tech, AI-driven surveillance network has prevented more than 143,000 illegal migrant crossings along the Greek-Turkey border over eight months through October of this year, which amounts to a 45-percent increase year-over-year.

The Greek government went on to deny allegations levied by migrant and human rights advocacy organizations that intercepting migrants along the border “include illegally summary deportations known as pushbacks,” The Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, though the issue has not been noted recently by U.S. news media, the Biden administration’s migrant crisis is continuing.

“According to statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Security, there were 173,600 encounters along the southern border in November. This is a five percent increase over October. Yet, the evening newscast coverage dropped to a shocking zero. Zero minutes and zero seconds on ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News,” Newsbusters reported last week.

“The network evening newscasts were interested in some border clashes in November, but they were in Europe. All three networks repeatedly covered the dispute between Belarus and Poland,” Newsbusters added, quoting NBC News anchor David Muir, who opened his Nov. 16 broadcast with: “Overseas, tonight, our team on the scene of the violent clash involving migrants at the border separating Belarus and Poland.”

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