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Cecilia Malmström to Greece

4 November 2010

On Friday the 5th of November EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström visits Greece. Following the deployment of EU border control specialists, Cecilia Malmström will visit the border between Greece and Turkey, talk to the Frontex Rapid Border Intervention Teams and visit a centre for asylum seekers.

"The situation in Greece is distressing", says Cecilia Malmström. "In the first half of 2010, a total of 40,000 illegal border crossings were reported by the Greek authorities. Greece currently lacks the sufficient capacity to uphold the procedures set up for border control and for the identification of individuals who could be in need of international protection."

On the 24th of October Greece requested the European Union to activate the Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABIT) to help monitoring a 12.5 kilometre long stretch of the border between Greece and Turkey. The aim is to rapidly assist the national border authorities during a limited period of time. This first ever deployment of RABIT since their creation in 2007 will bring together 175 border control specialists from 26 Member States and countries taking part in the Schengen agreement.