Enhanced support for Greek sea borders from Frontex: French minister

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ATHENS, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Greece will receive extra backup from Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, next year to protect its sea borders, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Monday.

The French official was welcomed by Greek Minister for Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy Ioannis Plakiotakis, who briefed him on the work of Greece's Coast Guard in dealing with migration and refugee flows in recent years in cooperation with Frontex.

"We believe that the Greek borders are also European borders. We discussed the means we offer via Frontex, which will be increased in the context of France's EU presidency that begins in January 2022," Darmanin said at a press conference after the meeting.

Meanwhile, Greek national broadcaster ERT quoted Plakiotakis as saying: "Greece and France share the same democratic values and common aspirations for defense, security and peace, as well as for the prospects of progress and prosperity."

The meeting came after the countries recently signed an agreement establishing a strategic partnership on defense and security.

During a visit earlier in the day to Chios, one of the Aegean Sea islands which have received the bulk of the refugee and migration influx since 2015, Plakiotakis said that the operational capability of Greece's Coast Guard will soon be further strengthened with some 70 extra patrol boats.

Greece has boosted patrols along sea and land borders in recent weeks, due to concerns over increased flows in the wake of developments in Afghanistan.

Greece's Coast Guard recorded 550 illegal arrivals during August this year, including 12 suspected smugglers, according to the latest official data released on Monday. Enditem

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