Of possible interest to some, Ekathimerni.com reports that the EU has made it clear it will not provide funding to the Greek government for the construction of a border fence along the Greek-Turkish border along the Evros river. Greece has been planning the construction of the border fence for many months and was seeking €5 million from the EU. Early proposals called for the construction of a fence over 200 km in length. The fence that is now being built will be 12 km in length when completed. “Responding to a question by Euro MP Giorgos Papanikolaou, who is affiliated with conservative New Democracy, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia [Malmström] said the bloc would not pay for the fence as it would not effectively discourage immigrants or smugglers who would simply seek alternative routes into the European Union, either via another section of Greece’s porous border with Turkey or through the border of another EU member state. [Malmström] reportedly said that the EU would be prepared to fund other measures if they are deemed to be an effective way of curbing illegal immigration into the bloc.”
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Israel today begins the construction of a 250 km border fence along portions of its border with Egypt. The barrier is primarily designed to prevent the entry into Israel of African migrants and asylum seekers. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quoted as saying that “Peace does not include the flood of illegal infiltrators, who come from Africa through Sinai … This is a blow which our neighbours in Egypt are also suffering from.”
The Israeli Interior Ministry reported that on average on a weekly basis 1,100 irregular migrants enter Israel along its southern border with Egypt. The Ministry reported that over 10,000 such migrants have entered Israel in this manner so far in 2010 compared with 4,431 for all of 2009.
The construction project will take at least one year to complete and will include sensors and other devices designed to detect persons along the border.
One effect of such a fence will be the diversion of migrants and asylum seekers who will either attempt to cross at unfenced portions of the border or pursue new destinations, with or without the assistance of human traffickers.
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Click here for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel “Refugee and Asylum-Seeker” Fact Sheet.