European Union help has been promised for what Greece is calling a “mass influx” of non-EU nationals entering across the Greek land border with Turkey, which is part of the bloc’s perimeter, after a long struggle to also patrol the sea.
Athens wants “rapid border intervention teams” with support from the European border agency Frontex.
A European Commission spokesman said: “It is the first time that a member state, in this specific situation Greece, requests assistance via RABIT, the Rapid Border Intervention Team, in this case at the land border between Greece and Turkey.”
According to the UN, during the first eight months of this year, 90 percent of all arrests of so-called illegals in the EU took place in Greece. Tighter action from Spain, Malta and Italy has diverted many hopefuls. Frontex said some 41,000 people were intercepted in the first half of this year, more than three-quarters of them trying to slip into Europe through Greece.