clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘FRONTEX’

“Excuse me, Mr. Minister – she said – what difference is there between dying at sea and dying in Libya?”

Posted by clandestina on 16 July 2009

source: fortresseurope.blogspot

The massacre continues: 459 deaths in the first 6 months of 2009

gommoneROME, 2 July 2009 – The number of deaths at the border fell for the first time over the last three years. In the first semester of 2009, the victims reported by the international press along the routes of emigration in the Mediterranean have been 434, to which the 25 people who disappeared along land borders must be added, including the three boys who ended up under lorries in the Italian Adriatic harbours. Last year, over the same period, there had been 985 documented deaths. The figures –based on news from the international press- were divulged by the Fortress Europe observatory. The main reason for the decrease in shipwrecks is the objective decrease in the number of arrivals, particularly in Italy and Spain. Since the start of returns to Libya on 7 May, arrivals by boat in Sicily can be counted on one hand. And in the Canary islands in Spain, there has not been any arrival by boat in the months of April and May, and very few boats arrived in the archipelago in June. This is an effect of the returns in the high seas and joint patrol operations enacted by Frontex in Senegal and Mauritania. However, it is still too early to compare data. In fact, very little news arrives from the press in countries to the south of the Mediterranean on this issue. For this reason, it cannot stated with any certainty whether the deaths have decreased or whether the shipwrecks occur further away from the gaze of our cameras, off the Libyan coast or in the high seas.

In detail, according to the data collected from the international press by Fortress Europe, there were 339 victims along the route towards Malta and Lampedusa in the first semester of 2008 (compared with 650 in the same period of 2008), 87 off the Spanish coast (compared with 136 in 2008) and 8 in the Aegean Sea (compared with 199 in 2008), between Turkey and Greece. There is only news of one victim on the way between Algeria and Sardinia. A corpse that was fished out of the water near to the Cavoli island in the Cagliari region, whose origin may lie in a shipwreck about which there are no available details. Other three emigrants, most probably Afghan refugees, lost their lives under lorries that disembarked in the Italian Adriatic harbours after the crossing from Greece. In Egypt, three refugees were killed after being shot by the Egyptian police at the border with Israel. Two people died in Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in Morocco, as they tried to climb over the six-metre barrier that seals that border. There were also two victims in Calais, in France, where the harbour and Channel Tunnel represent an obligatory passage to enter England illegally. Finally, there were supposedly at least 14 victims of the crossing of the Sahara during the first half of the year, according to the very few pieces of information arriving from Saharan countries.

June has also been a month in which deaths were counted: 29 in the Gibraltar Strait, off the Spanish coasts; 3 in Egypt, shot by the police at the Israeli border; and one in Italy, who was called Amir Rohol, was 19 years old and an Afghan asylum seeker. He died after falling off an articulated lorry that had disembarked in Ancona, along the junction between Clearway 76 and the A14 motorway.

Many are likely to use this data to justify the returns to Libya. Joseph St. John, an official from the Maltese interior ministry also stated this during a seminar in which I took part on 17 June in Malta. Refuse entry to save human lives. From the audience, an Ethiopian woman refugee raised her hand to intervene. “Excuse me, Mr. Minister – she said – what difference is there between dying at sea and dying in Libya?”. I don’t feel that there is much more to add about this.

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Spain and Greece pledge to continue anti-immigrant terror in the Mediterranean

Posted by clandestina on 14 July 2009

source

Spain and Greece to cooperate against illegal immigration

Europe News

Jul 13, 2009, 14:46 GMT

Madrid – Spain and Greece on Monday pledged to jointly renew efforts to fight illegal immigration into the European Union.

Spain will intensify such measures when it takes over the EU presidency in the first half of 2010, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis in Madrid.

Spain will focus on strengthening the European frontier control agency Frontex and on seeking repatriation agreements with undocumented immigrants’ countries of origin, Zapatero said.

The agreements should also include cooperation programmes to promote the social and economic development of the countries in question, in order to discourage their citizens from seeking better lives abroad, Zapatero said.

Karamanlis proposed a European coast guard to improve maritime surveillance.

Spain and Greece were among the European countries most concerned by the influx of immigrants across the Mediterranean, Zapatero said.

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Fortress Europe’s “dissuasion effects” – FRONTEX predicts decrease in immigrants numbers

Posted by clandestina on 10 July 2009

source

FRONTEX: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION DOWN, -25% EXPECTED IN 2009

(ANSAmed) – ROME – In 2009 illegal immigration into Europe could fall by as much as 20 – 25% compared to 2008, says Gil Arias-Fernandez, deputy executive director of EU border agency, Frontex. Today he presented figures on illegal immigration in Europe regarding the first three months of 2009. Compared to the first quarter of 2008, there has been a 16% drop in the number of illegal immigrants arriving in Europe, and a 20% drop in Italy.
Overall in this period 20,200 illegal immigrants are thought to have arrived in Europe, 2,586 (13%) of whom arrived in Italy. The amount of people entering Europe by land or air has fallen particularly, considering that 8% of illegal immigrants arrived by boat.
The total number of illegal immigrants in the EU in January, February and March 2009 was 90,800 (11,080 in Italy), 16% fewer (12% for Italy) than in the first quarter of 2008. Last year 145 thousand illegal immigrants came to Europe. Italy had the greatest number of immigrants arriving by boat, 37 thousand, or 41% of the total.
In 2009, Frontex is expecting to see trends change. ”The trends of the last few months, along with forecasts,” the deputy director said, ”show that illegal immigration could fall by as much as 20-25%. If sea routes change, it could remain stable at 16% or drop to 10%.”
Arias-Fernandez believes that numbers have fallen due to the economic crisis and the fact that some countries have been repatriating illegal immigrants, as well as the agreements made between Italy and Libya.
Meanwhile, the arrival of illegal immigrants in Sicily and Sardinia has fallen by 54% and 56% respectively. The decrease in the number of arrivals, according to Arias-Fernandez, was also influenced by the agreements made between Italy and Libya.
”From January 1 2009 to July 5,” he affirmed, ”there were 333 illegal arrivals according to our people in the field. For the same period last year there were 776.
As for Sicily, including Lampedusa, the figure passed from last year’s 14,806 to 6,760 this year. From May 15 on, that is from when the agreements became effective, our agents noticed even more of a decrease.
The decrease in this last month and a half may have even reached -70%.” A positive vote therefore for the agreements between Italy and Libya. ”Based on our statistics,” Arias-Fernandez concluded, we are able to say that the agreements have had a positive impact.
On the humanitarian level, fewer human lives have been put at risk, due to fewer departures. But our agency does not have the ability to confirm if the right to request asylum as well as other human rights are being respected 3in Libya.” The arrivals from sea on Italy’s shores from the Mediterranean represent around 5% of the total of illegal migrants, while the other 95% come from the East, often carrying tourist visas (ANSAmed).

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The FRONTEX job: the first ever deportation coordinated by Frontex on the high seas

Posted by clandestina on 9 July 2009

source

Frontex handover of migrants to Italy results in forced repatriation

Karl Stagno-Navarra

The European Union border agency Frontex operating from Malta has for the first time ever coordinated a mission that led to the forced repatriation operation of migrants at sea.
74 illegal migrants sighted last Thursday afternoon by a Maltese private aircraft at approximately 126 miles south-east of Malta, was transmitted to a German Puma helicopter participating in Operation Nautilus IV that is being coordinated from Malta.
Senior military sources revealed with MaltaToday that the German helicopter was instructed to work closely with the Italian coast-guard in the area, that picked up the migrants Friday morning, and handed them over to a Libyan patrol boat.
The Italian army is participating in another joint patrol along with France, to monitor the Sardignia-Lampedusa route.
The mission has been defined as the first ever forced repatriation operation coordinated by Frontex on the high seas. Even though the migrants were intercepted by an Italian coast guard boat, the same migrants, that included women and children were identified by a Frontex asset that followed the operation through.
Meanwhile Italian police have reportedly been in contact with the Maltese authorities, after 10 migrants who escaped from Safi and Marsa detention and open centres, were apprehended in Sicily.
The migrants were caught on the Ragusa coast shortly after being ferried by a Maltese speedboat.
The news re-opens past issues with the Italian authorities following a series of tragic trips by speedboats driven by Maltese criminals that exploit the migrants and secretly take them to Sicily.

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French navy war ship intercepted 200 immigrants in the Aegean in June

Posted by clandestina on 6 July 2009

source

2502French Navy Completes 5th Frontex Mission

A French Navy ship, the PSP Arago, has completed what is reported as the Navy’s fifth Frontex mission.  The PSP Arago was based in the Aegean Sea 3-29 June 2009 and operated out of several Greek ports.  It reportedly intercepted over 200 migrants in 7 interdictions; the migrants were turned over to Greek authorities.

French naval ships have participated in Frontex missions since 2008. French naval surveillance airplanes have participated in such missions since 2006.

Click here for article (Le portail des sous-marins).

Click here for the Préfecture maritime de la Méditerranée web site: Intervenir – Participation aux missions Frontex.

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EU group deportations by charter flight

Posted by clandestina on 25 June 2009

“Sweep operations”, mass arrests, mass detention, group deportations with charter flights.  The Greek Government seems determined to turn this cascade of events into a routine this summer.  This is an article about the last step – charter flighsts – we found at no-racism-net.

clandestinenglish

EU group deportations by charter flight – Hamburg as forerunner

On the 29.4.2004, the European council decided to organise group flights for deporting migrants and refugees who “are required to depart”. The “rehearsal” for flights like this took place from 25 to the 26.5.04 in Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel.

The ban on night flights was lifted, the airport turned into a prison and at around 2am eight refugees from four different states were flown to Amsterdam in a KLM plane to be deported to Togo and Cameroon along with 44 other refugees from five EU countries. Since then, there has been at least seven such group deportations to Africa, not only to Togo and Cameroon but also to Guinea, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria. Further charter flights took place from Düsseldorf (see overview at :: Flüchtlingsrat Hamburg)
In July 2005 at a meeting in Evian, the so-called G5 states (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Great Britain) reaffirmed that they would plan deportations together in future. Shortly afterwards the airports in London and Paris were the setting for the joint deportation to Afghanistan. Further flights followed.

Saving costs and business

Such deportation flights are carried out with chartered aeroplanes from different airines e.g. Hamburg International (see box), Aero Flight (the company has since registered concourse), Hello (Swiss company), LTU, Westtours or the Austrian airlines Asylum Airlines founded especially for this purpose. They fly from country to country to round up detainees without valid residency permits, usually in late-night stings and with brutal violence. Or refugees are brought to the place of departure with loading planes, sometimes in small private jets. Around 140 000 euros is what a group deportation costs, and around 70 percent of this is reimbursed by the EU. “If I get the machine full, one deportee costs around 1000 Euros.
From 20 people and up, the cost per head sinks below the price of a scheduled deportation flight”, explained a leading employee of the Hamburg Immigration Authorities to the magazine “Leben” in the newspaper :: “Zeit”. But saving costs through a large number of deportees is not the main reason for carrying out group deportations. An example: In March 2008 the first charter deportation flight from Ireland took place – with only six refugees in the 110 seat machine. What is essential, is that a charter flight carrying only deportees is occupied with more than twice as many policemen, a doctor as well as employees of the involved immigration authorities and the European border protection agency Frontex, and so publicity is completely excluded and resistance is hardly possible.

Protests on charter flights with inhumane measures

In charter flights in recent years it often came to protests from passengers and some of them are on trial, for example in France. If passengers refuse to sit down then a flight cannot take off due to safety reasons. It is also possible for flight attendants to refuse to
carry out deportations. Air France had a one such a campaign with union workers in Summer 2007. The German pilot union, Cockpit, recommends its members to ask people affected by deportations whether they want to fly and if they answer “no” to refuse to transport them because otherwise, in case of death or injury from deportees, the pilot could be sued. Specialty deportation charter flights cannot expect such problems since the staff is specially chosen and mistreatment could occur unnoticed. Only afterwards, in reports from deportees, facts about the operation like medication used to “calm” them, being tied up, gagged, and hit and other illegal measures on board the charter machines were leaked to the public. The authorities justified this mistreatment by claiming that the deportees were “criminal offenders” and “violent”. It’s a fact that for authorities, “illegal” residency is a criminal act and cries of protest or resistance against being tied up or gagged are labelled as “violence” – but not what is done to the refugees.

Dieser Artikel ist mit leichten Änderungen dem :: Camp08 Reader entnommen.

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Greek Government’s “Six-point plan” for the war against immigrants in the Aegean

Posted by clandestina on 23 June 2009

source: ministry of foreign affairs release

Article of Deputy Foreign Minister Valinakis in the Athens daily ‘Kathimerini’

The problem of illegal migrants is one of the 21st century’s global challenges. Europe and our country are at the heart of this global problem due to their geographical position as a gateway to Europe from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa and we are exposed to these migratory pressures. This problem is particularly acute for our country’s border regions and, more specifically, our eastern border in the Aegean Sea.

For the past few years we have persistently and methodically tried to turn our positions into EU-27 positions because this problem cannot be understood easily by all the European countries, e.g., those countries without sea borders. Since 2004, Greece has been playing a leading role in the creation of a common, integrated European policy on these issues. The problem’s labyrinthine dimensions do not allow for oversimplification based on domestic interests. In fact, they require an integrated plan; that is, a mobilization of human and other resources, use of national and European means, partnerships, synergies, and painful negotiations.

Bearing this in mind, a network of complementary actions could relieve the islands of the Aegean from these pressures and lay the foundations for successful treatment of the problem. This network of actions is based on 6 axes:

1.         A ship of sufficient tonnage to be used as a first reception and transport centre. This ship will sail near the islands of the Aegean where illegal migrants have been arrested, it will take them on board and carry them to the reception centres already in, or due to be put into, operation. The ship must be equipped with the necessary logistics infrastructure so as to ensure a complete health check of illegal migrants and to cross-check their identification data in order to ascertain their country of origin reliably and in a timely manner.

2.         An immediate relaunching of EU-Turkey negotiations on the conclusion of a readmission agreement and an immediate implementation of the existing Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol. Given that these issues have become part of the framework of relations between the EU and Turkey, our neighbouring country is jeopardizing its European future by dragging its feet.

3.         Use of a specific port on the Turkish coast for the return of illegal migrants who have reached our country through Turkey. This will be a major step that will certainly contribute to the relief of our insular areas. The use of a Turkish harbour in conjunction with the operation of a ship as a reception centre creates the necessary conditions for the faster return of illegal migrants.

4.         Conclusion of European and bilateral readmission agreements with the countries of origin for the overwhelming majority of illegal migrants (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia). Development aid as well as political and economic cooperation can be used as leverage in speeding up the conclusion of these agreements.

5.         Intensification of joint operations on a permanent basis under FRONTEX, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, on the way towards the creation of a European Coastguard. Our proposal for the creation of a specialised FRONTEX branch in Greece is included within the same framework.

6.         Full use of every potential for financing all the necessary actions with additional EU funds and utilization of European and bilateral programmes.

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Greek Government on immigration after the Brussels EU summit and the new draft law

Posted by clandestina on 22 June 2009

sources

EU to push Turkey on immigration

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said yesterday that Greek efforts to secure greater support from the European Union in its fight to curb illegal immigration had met with success after EU leaders attending a summit in Brussels agreed on the importance of migrant repatriation agreements being honored.

The move was seen as a nudge for Turkey, which has failed to hold up its side of a bilateral pact with Greece to repatriate illegal immigrants arriving on Greek territory from the neighboring country.

“Greece’s positions were understood absolutely and taken into consideration in the conclusions,” Karamanlis told a press conference in Brussels yesterday afternoon, noting that leaders had agreed on the need to further “sensitize” Turkey to issues of migration as an EU candidate.

Specifically, it was agreed that the EU should seek to forge new repatriation pacts with migrants’ countries of origin and with “transit countries” such as Turkey and Libya. In addition, existing bilateral pacts on repatriation, such as the one signed by Greece and Turkey in 2003, should be honored, delegates agreed.

Another significant decision highlighted by Karamanlis was one to boost the activities of the EU’s border monitoring agency Frontex to curb illegal immigration in the southeastern Mediterranean region. There was no response to Greece’s appeal for the creation of a joint European coast guard, which is reportedly regarded as “premature.”

As for the official focus of yesterday’s summit, which was the fallout from the global economic crisis, Karamanlis noted that EU leaders had decided to step up supervision of the European Central Bank system and push through reforms to boost employment.

Immigration progress expected

Buoyed by an agreement among European Union leaders on Friday that all countries, including Turkey, should be pushed to uphold migrant repatriation agreements, Alternate Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis said yesterday that he expects “visible results” in Greece’s immigration problem as of September.

“I would like to believe that when we are ready, when we have the reception centers that we are getting ready, when we start a process of speedier repatriation, things will improve greatly,” he said during a visit to his home island of Crete.

It was decided in Brussels that the EU should seek to forge new repatriation pacts with migrants’ countries of origin and with “transit countries” such as Turkey and Libya. In addition, existing bilateral pacts on repatriation, such as the one signed by Greece and Turkey in 2003, should be honored, the EU leaders agreed.

A draft law that proposes stiffer penalties for people smugglers, transforming their offense from a misdemeanor to a felony, is due to be discussed in Parliament tomorrow.

“Up until now, we have seen that many are arrested – just this year almost 500 have been caught – mostly smuggling illegal immigrants from Turkey, but none have been sent to jail,” said Markoyiannakis.

“We think that the penalties foreseen in the bill will act as a deterrent and there will be a reduction in the flow of migrants from the east.”

Last year, almost 150,000 illegal immigrants and more than 2,000 traffickers were arrested in Greece. It is not clear how many of the alleged smugglers were jailed.

Markoyiannakis rejected criticism from PASOK on the government’s immigration policy by saying that previous Socialist governments had been wrong to sign Greece up to the EU’s Dublin Regulation, which means that the member state where an asylum seeker first enters the Union is also the country responsible for registering him and examining the application.


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Foreign Minister prioritizes bilateral deportation agreements and FRONTEX increased presence (vessels and headquarters) in Greece

Posted by clandestina on 17 June 2009

source: http://www.isria.com/pages/16_June_2009_74.htm

Greece: Foreign Minister Bakoyannis statements following the EU General Affairs Council (Luxembourg, 15 June 2009)

Ms. Bakoyannis: We had a very important discussion in the General Affairs Council today, in preparation for the European Council. We looked at a range of foreign policy issues  mainly the Middle East problem, which is coming back into the focus of interest following the recent Obama and Netanyahu statements, and Greece once again had the opportunity to take a stance and point to the need to hasten the Middle East peace process.

This evening, I will have a private discussion with some of my colleagues from the south – the Mediterranean – in view of the effort that is being made to facilitate this process.

We talked about the Lisbon Treaty, we answered our Irish colleagues questions, and of course we moved ahead to discuss institutional issues, such as the need for the new European Commission posts to be filled as soon as possible if the Treaty goes into force.

On a Greek initiative, we had a detailed discussion of the illegal migration issue. I should tell you here that Greece found a lot of support from many countries – Mediterranean countries, northern European countries, countries in central Europe, that agreed with our basic position: that dealing with the illegal migration issue requires European solidarity.

European solidarity that must be achieved in practice. With an upgrading of Frontex; that is, with a greater presence of vessels in the Aegean, for example, to guard borders. But at the same time, with economic participation in handling migrants, who we must never forget, and this is being discussed a lot in Greece right now � are human beings.

They are human beings who have rights, human beings who are desperate, human beings without financial means, human beings who invest all their hopes in a boat and come across.

So our handling of them must be humanitarian, and that is what Greece will do with the reception centers that we are setting up. But we need help and we need the treaties, which also have to be humanitarian , treaties for their repatriation.

Journalist: This issue will be discussed on Friday morning, on the second day of the European Council. I would like to ask you, with regard to the substance of the discussion: What is Greece pursuing in terms of the text of the final conclusions, and what do you expect in terms of the initiatives that will be undertaken by the Swedish Presidency?

Ms. Bakoyannis: We had a long discussion about the text today. The current draft of the text does not satisfy us. What we want is for specific mention to be made of the repatriation that I mentioned earlier; that is, specific reference to conditions under which the European Union will sign agreements with states, so that we, as the European Union,  can repatriate people who come.

At the same time, explicit reference to specific countries. There are essentially two countries that illegal migrants transit or originate from and that are currently engaging Europe: Turkey and Libya. So there has to be a specific policy on these countries, and of course on the economic support that I talked about for managing and upgrading Frontex within Greek territory.

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Greek government’s immigration plans – the summer of oppression gears up – military dungeons across the Aegean

Posted by clandestina on 12 June 2009

sources

Four days after the European elections that saw far right parties rising in prominence across Europe, the Greek government announced measures aimed at curbing illegal immigration. Greek daily “Ta Nea” reports(translation from Greek):

Felony offenses for slavers and the creation of financial immigrant reception centers for 12 months are two of the immediate measures announced by the government to address the problem of illegal immigration. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos pointed out the european dimension of the issue, saying that no country can face the problem on it’s own. He also said that the Greek prime minister will broach the issue at the upcoming EU Summit, next week, and press for readmission treaties to be signed with third countries, as well as for signatories, like Turkey, to accede to treaties.In a previous article, “Ta Nea” quoted sources within the government and provided more details about the plan (translation from Greek):

The Defence Ministry sent a list of 11 military camps that could be used as concentration facilities for illegal immigrants arrested by police. The camps have been decomissioned but their facilities are in particularly good condition, the army department of infrastructure assured the police. Sources within the Interior Ministry told “Ta Nea” that the camps available are strewn across various parts of Greece. Greek police didn’t insist in creating just one big camp in Attica, fearing that it could be easily accessible to anti-statists attempting to cause unrest.

The government’s proposals attracted strong opposition criticism. George Papandreou, the leader of Socialist PASOK, described the measures as “sketchy and inadequate” and proposed instead an eight-point plan foreseeing the boosting of border controls and a drive to upgrade parts of the capital that have turned into ghettos for migrants. The Communist Party accused the government of seeking to imprison migrants in “concentration camps.”

The government is accused by the opposition of pandering to the nationalist LA.O.S. party, which doubled it’s seats in the European Parliament, after ethnic tensions flared in recent months in downtown Athens. The center-right Greek government of Kostas Karamanlis, besieged by scandals and the dire condition of the Greek economy, came second at the European elections behind the socialists, losing for the first time in 15 years.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday chaired an inner cabinet meeting devoted to illegal immigration and the positions that Greece will adopt at the upcoming European Union summit. Reporting on the results of the meeting, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that illegal migration was the issue expected to dominate the next meeting of the European Council.

According to Pavlopoulos, the main focus at the moment was to convert the EU’s FRONTEX organisation into a European coast guard and to promote re-entry agreements. He underlined that each country separately would be unable to deal with the problem and that this required a common EU effort and policy.

The minister pointed out that the issue of migration had also been discussed by EU interior ministers on the Thursday before the elections, adding that Greece, along with other countries, had since 2005 been at the forefront of efforts for a common European policy on migration, efforts that had led to the European pact for immigration and asylum.

He again called on the EU to exert pressure on third countries to sign re-entry agreements for illegal migrants, stressing that Turkey must finally observe Community rules.

Referring to the problems caused by immigrants but also drug addicts in the centre of Athens, Pavlopoulos said the transfer of the headquarters of the drug rehabilitation agency OKANA to a new location decided by the health ministry would be speeded up, and announced plans to build a mosque in the city and a Moslem cemetery at Schisto. A coordinating committee will be set up in order to ensure the immediate implementation of the measures, he added.

Deputy interior minister for public order issues, Christos Markoyiannakis, said the government intended to introduce harsher penalties for immigrant smugglers, who would henceforth be charged with criminal offences rather than misdemeanours. In addition, the government intends to build organised centres where any illegal immigrants that are apprehended will be able to stay for up to 12 months.

Pavlopoulos said a sharp increase in illegal immigration had been worsened because Turkey, with which Greece shares a border, was not adequately enforcing an agreement to take back migrants facing deportation from Greece.

In 2008, Greek authorities arrested more than 146,000 illegal immigrants, a 30 percent increase from the previous year and a 54 percent jump from 2006, according to figures from the Interior Ministry.

The measures announced Thursday follow the surge in support for a rightist party in European Parliament elections last Sunday, as well a violence protest on May 22 by Muslim immigrants in central Athens, protesting the alleged defacement of a Quran by a Greek policeman.

Earlier this week, police clashed with rival groups of demonstrators near the center of the capital, when local residents tried to block mostly Asian immigrants from entering a public playground.

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