Estonian President stresses common bonds with Greek border authorities

Kersti Kaljulaid speaking during her recent visit to Greece Source: Mattias Tammet/Office of the President

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid yesterday, Friday, 18 May, stressed the importance of maintaining the security of the EU's external borders.

Speaking in Athens, Greece, where she has been on a two-day official visit, the President was visiting the Greek office of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex.

"Estonia values highly the work of Frontex in boosting the security of the EU's external border and we have sent our people and equipment to help with that," Ms. Kaljulaid said, at the Frontex facility in Piraeus Harbour.

"We can share Estonia's experience with cross-utilization of different databases and information systems," she added, whilst noting the different challenges the two countries face in their external border policy.

In proportion to its population size, Estonia is actually the largest contributor to Frontex from among the European countries which make up its membership, namely those within the Schengen area of travel; as such Frontex includes countries which are part of the Schengen zone but not EU member states (eg. Iceland and Norway). 

Officials from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (MTA) in Estonia have both a land and maritime border to patrol, but the country is always open to doing more, a spokesperson for the President said.

In the past three years MTA representatives have reportedly taken part in around 80 joint operations, including in Greece, as well as Bulgaria, which isn't yet in the Schengen Zone but is legally obliged to join. 

Kersti Kaljulaid has also met with her counterpart in Greece, President Prokópis Pavlópoulos, as well as Greek Prime Minister Aléxis Tsípras, during the visit.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: BNS

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