The busiest crossing point for illegal immigrants into Europe is set to be blocked with a new £2.5million razor wire wall.
Greek authorities plan to erect the six mile, 13ft high double fence, on an area bordering Turkey which sees an average of 245 people per day crossing illegally, the EU’s border agency Frontex’s figures show.
And according to latest estimates, around 90 per cent of all illegal immigrants into the EU have come through Greece.
Once inside Europe’s visa-free Schengen zone, people are free to travel unchecked through internal borders, and many travel on to the UK.
Greece has been warned that failure to step up border controls would leave the country at risk of being expelled from the Schengen zone.
Speaking to reporters while inaugurating a new police command centre on the border, Public Order Minister Christos Papoutsis told reporters: ‘This is an opportunity for us to send a clear message … to all the EU, that Greece is fully compliant with its border commitments.’
‘Traffickers should know that this route will be closed to them. Their life is about to get much harder.’
Papoutsis said work on the fence which will stretch between the villages of Kastanies and Nea Vyssa in the Evros border region, near the north eastern town of Orestiada, would begin next month.
It should be linked to a network of fixed night-vision cameras providing real-time footage to the new command center.
Most of Greece’s 125-mile border with Turkey is delineated by the Evros River – called the Meric River in Turkey – but the fence will cover a short stretch where the two countries are divided by land.