20 Estonian officials to support Greek authorities
The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board will send a group of 20 specialists to Greece this week to help the local authorities process refugees arriving in the country.
“The night before Saturday Frontex made a contribution call to member states, and today the Police and Border Guard have confirmed that they'll participate in its joint operation in Greece with its 20-member unit ESTPOL3," Helen Neider-Veerme, head of the Office for Integrated Border Management at the Police and Border Guard Board, told the BNS on Monday.
Spokesman for the European Commission Margaritis Schinas announced in Brussels on Monday that after Friday's European Council meeting, where an agreement was entered into with Turkey to provide relief in the migration crisis, 20 countries had already made concrete offers to help the Greek authorities.
"The Estonian team consists of officials of the Police and Border Guard, five of whom will deal with return and asylum proceedings, and 15 help guarantee border security and public order," Neider-Veerme added.
She said that during the weekend the Police and Border Guard had been busy preparing for the ESTPOL3 mission, and the work was still ongoing. She added that the preparations were now in their final stages, and that the team would be headed by Toomas Malva.
The main task of the Estonian officials in Greece will be to draw up documentation for returning people, escorting them, and guaranteeing safety. According to its present schedule, the Estonian team will depart for Greece at the end of this week, and their mission will last a month, Neider-Veerme said.
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) had said already on Friday that Estonia was ready to send 20 officials to Greece. Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur (Reform) confirmed a few hours later that Estonia had a wide variety of specialists it could send to Greece.