Frontex, the EU border agency, initiated on Monday the deployment of 293 officers and 15 vessels to the Greek islands as part of a new operation called “Poseidon Rapid Intervention” after Greece requested additional assistance at its external borders in the Aegean earlier this month.
“Poseidon Rapid Intervention” replaces the Joint Operation Poseidon Sea with a higher number of officers who will assist in identifying and fingerprinting of arriving migrants, along with interpreters and forged document experts. “Poseidon Rapid Intervention” aims to provide Greece with additional technical assistance aiming to strengthen its border surveillance, registration and identification capacity.
In accordance with the Frontex Regulation, at the request of a Member State faced with a situation of urgent and exceptional migratory pressure at its external borders, Frontex may deploy European Border Guard Teams for a limited period on the territory of the requesting Member State. It should be noted that while participation in Frontex Joint Operations is voluntary, Member States are obliged to send border guards for rapid operational assistance deployments, unless they themselves face an exceptional situation substantially affecting the discharge of national tasks.
According to Frontex, the number of border guards deployed will gradually increase to over 400 officers as well as additional vessels, vehicles and other technical equipment to assist the national authorities in the management of the unprecedented migratory pressure at the Greek external borders.
Operation “Poseidon Rapid Intervention” is expected to run until March 31, 2016.