Estonia ready to send personnel to Greece to support local authorities
Estonia was ready to send specialists to Greece to help the country process the very high number of immigrants arriving from Turkey and across the Mediterranean, Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur (Reform) told the Baltic News Service on Friday.
"We can send border guards, profilers, interviewers, fingerprint takers," the minister said, commenting on Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas' announcement that Estonia was ready to send 20 officials to Greece immediately.
In addition, Estonia was prepared to send experienced police officers after the police mission to Slovenia at the beginning of the year, Pevkur said. "We've been saying since the start of the migration crisis that we are interested in solving the crisis as close as possible to its origin," he added.
The minister said Estonia was flexible, constructive, active, and ready to act, and that it was one of the first countries that had published information about their readiness to contribute.
Following a formal invitation by Greece, Estonian specialists could depart just days from now. Another requirement is the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) specifying the needs of the country.
Pevkur also explained why Estonia hadn't supported Greece with IT, as was recommended on Friday by MEP Marju Lauristin (SDE/PASD). He said that with computers and computer systems, compatibility was crucial, and achieving it could take time.
"First and foremost, Greece has a shortage of people, and that's what we are offering to them," Pevkur said.
The European Union and Turkey agreed on a deal on Friday to curb the immigration of refugees, which has plunged the whole continent into the biggest refugee crisis since the end of World War II. Under the deal, all migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey are turned back if Greece itself doesn’t decide to grant them asylum.
Within the framework of the same plan, support will be provided to Greece, the main point of entry for migrants to Europe at the moment.