WARSAW, Poland – The European Union's border agency is seeking hundreds of additional border guards to help in the task of identifying migrants arriving in massive numbers in Europe, a spokeswoman said Monday.
Ewa Moncure said that Frontex appealed to EU and Schengen members last week to jointly provide 775 experts in identification and interpreters. It is the biggest such appeal since Frontex opened its operation in 2005. The additional guards would be deployed this month, mainly to Greece and Italy, which are taking the brunt of the migrant wave. There is also pressure now on the Bulgarian border, Moncure said.
They would reinforce the procedure of identifying and registering people who qualify for political asylum, like Syrians and Afghanis, and economic migrants, chiefly from Africa, who will be returned home. Most migrants carry no documents and have to be identified through interviews; they are fingerprinted when registered. The current number of border guards is insufficient to meet the migrant wave of some 420,000 people so far this year.
The number of border guards in Greece is to at least double from roughly 100, Moncure said from Frontex headquarters in Warsaw.
She said that up to 70 percent of migrants entering Greece are from war-torn Syria and Afghanistan and qualify for political asylum, while most of those arriving in Italy are economic migrants from Africa.
Poland has some 100 border guards on Frontex missions in Hungary, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria.