Frontex has asked EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries to provide 1,500 police officers and 50 return and readmission experts to support Greece in returning migrants to Turkey. Several Member States have already committed to providing additional officers.
Over the weekend all involved parties – the European Commission, Greece, all the remaining EU Member States, as well as a number of EU agencies including Frontex, European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and Europol – have been holding intensive talks on how to best coordinate their work in order to implement the 18 March EU Council conclusions.
Frontex will continue to support Greece in border surveillance, search and rescue, registration and identification of the migrants, but it will also assist the local authorities in returns and readmissions from the hotspots.
“It is important to stress that Frontex can only return people once the Greek authorities have thoroughly analysed each individual case and issued a final return decision,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri. “The return of those who do not have right to international protection will proceed in full compliance with EU and international law.”
Last week Leggeri also decided to extend operation Poseidon Rapid Intervention until 31 May 2016.
Frontex currently deploys 734 personnel as part of the operation, which was launched on 28 December 2015. This includes the crews of 13 vessels and two helicopters supporting Greece in patrolling its five most affected islands.
PHOTO: FRONTEX (Poseidon Rapid Intervention)