Greece to expand border fence with Turkey ‘with or without European funding’

Athens, March 31 (EFE).- Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a conservative, confirmed this Friday that Greece will complete the construction of a fence along its land border with Turkey with or without European funding, sparking a sharp reaction from the opposition. , who accused him of courting far-right votes ahead of the May 21 general election.

“With or without European money, the Euro fence will end,” said a conservative leader from the region of the same name, which shares a 150-kilometer land border with Turkey.

The Prime Minister recalled that in this region in 2020, Greece had to face a “hybrid attack”, during which Turkey pressured tens of thousands of migrants to enter Europe through Hellenic land.

The government of Athens has pledged to extend the border fence along the entire land border with its eastern neighbor.

It is currently 37.5km long and Mitsotakis plans to sign a contract extension of around 35km this afternoon at a ceremony in Euros.

“After Greece’s intervention, Europe changes its attitude and realizes the importance of protecting external borders at the European level,” the Prime Minister said.

Greece and 14 other EU partners called on the European Commission in February to provide financial aid to member states facing large immigration flows to build “physical barriers” at external borders, which the European Commission has repeatedly complained about. refused.

In a vote in the European Parliament on Thursday, the Party of European Socialists (PSE), the Party of the European Left (PIE), the centrist Rene Europe and the Greens managed to approve an amendment denying Community funding for the construction of fences.

The change was also supported by half of the MPs in Mitsotakis’ formation of the European People’s Party (EPP), the New Democracy political family.

After approving the amendment, Mitsotakis attacked the main opposition party, left-wing Syriza – which belongs to PIE – accusing it of wanting “the Greeks to pay for the fence instead of Europe”.

Syriza has accused Mitsotakis and the government of seeking votes from the far right ahead of the upcoming May 21 general election, amid the rise of the far-right “Greeks” party led by Ilias Kasidiari, a former lawmaker. Neo-Nazi formation Golden Dawn, which is currently in prison.

Greek courts have yet to decide whether the party will be able to run in the election, but a poll released Thursday by TV station MEGA showed the party would receive around 3.8% of parliamentary representation, above the 3% threshold.

According to this survey, New Democracy would add 26.2% of the vote, Syriza 21.5%, and the Pasok-Kinal Social Democrats would reach 9.4%.

Source: El Diario





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