EU wants to attach conditions for border protection aid in Greece

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FILED - A gernal view of the European flags in front of the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels. Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa

The European Commission plans to make further financial support to protect the European Union’s external borders in Greece conditional on protecting human rights, said a commissioner.

“We have said that such a payment should be linked to the establishment of a mechanism to monitor fundamental rights,” European Commissioner for Internal Affairs Ylva Johansson told Der Spiegel news magazine.

She said a working group had been established and that progress was expected in this area.

Greek border guards have repeatedly been accused of illegally pushing back migrants who try to reach the country by crossing the Mediterranean, sending them back to Turkey.

The Greek government denies that illegal pushbacks are taking place.

At the height of the refugee crisis six years ago, more than 850,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean from Turkey into Greece – and the European Union – within the space of a year, with many fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East.

Only 1,800 people have reached Greece by boat this year, according to the UN Refugee Agency’s data up to August 22.

Some 45 per cent of those fleeing were from Afghanistan, according to recent figures.

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