Frontex has called on the authorities of EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries to contribute an additional 269 officers to help screen, fingerprint and register migrants at the European Union’s external borders.
Member States have so far agreed to provide 320 officers to help at the external borders most affected by the unprecedented migratory flows this year, mainly in Greece.
Frontex has already strengthened Operation Poseidon Sea and deployed 133 officers on Lesbos and other Greek islands to support the local authorities in identifying, registering and fingerprinting of new arrivals. This includes 55 officers deployed at the Lesbos hotspot, where Frontex is completing a pilot project of an accelerated registration process to shorten the waiting time for the migrants and pave the way for relocation of asylum seekers.
Frontex has also offered to increase its presence on the Greek land borders with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania, as well as Croatia’s border with Serbia.
“Considering the critical situation we are facing and the large number of officers requested by Frontex to be deployed I decided that we can have a flexible approach to the types of officers and experts we are asking for,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.
“These officers may not necessarily come from the border police, but also from migration or other law enforcement related bodies,” he added.
More than 540 000 migrants have arrived on the Greek islands in the first ten months of the year, which was 13 times more than in the same period of 2014. As a direct knock-on effect, some 500 000 detections of illegal border crossings were recorded on the EU’s external borders in the Western Balkans, mainly on Hungary’s and Croatia’s borders with Serbia.