Athens.- The European Union is sending 175 border officials to the Greek-Turkish land border for two months to help Athens intercept illegal immigrants. It is the first deployment of the EU’s RABITs force, shorthand for “Rapid Border Intervention Teams”, since it was created three years ago, the EU border agency Frontex said in a statement.
“The specialisations of guest officers deployed will include experts in false documents, clandestine entry, first and second-line border checks and stolen vehicles as well as dog handlers and specialist interviewers, debriefers and interpreters,” Warsaw-based Frontex said.
Greece requested the help earlier this month. Nearly nine out of 10 illegal immigrants use the country as an entry point to the EU. Arrivals by land — mostly from Turkey — have increased by more than a third in a year.
Dozens of illegal immigrants have drowned or were blown up by landmines at the 200-km long Greek-Turkish land border running along the Evros river in recent years. The RABITs will be deployed from Nov. 2 for up to two months. They will act under Greek authority.