Greece swamped by illegals from North Africa, Mideast

Arab Spring chaos fueling wave, envoy says

More than 22,000 people were caught trying to cross into the European Union in the last three months of 2012, with nearly 9,000 of them attempting to come through the Greek-Turkish frontier, according to the EU border-control agency Frontex.

Analysts generally say that cross-border apprehensions are an imperfect measure of illegal migration, because the number excludes those who successfully sneak across. But most agree it is one of the better measures available, at least to detect trends.

Mr. Panagopoulos said up to 300 people every day successfully cross the Turkish border into Greece illegally, calling the number the equivalent of the population of a small Greek village.

“It is a village every single day,” he said. “It’s devastating for a small country such as ours

According to Frontex, the most common nationalities caught trying to enter the EU in the first half of 2012 were Afghans, Algerians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. But later in the year, Frontex detected a huge jump in the number of immigrants from Syria.

“Some of them are coming as a result of the aftermath of the Arab Spring,” the ambassador said.

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About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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