“UK launches £2m project in Greece to assist repatriation of migrants,” by Helena Smith for the Guardian:
The British government has launched a £2m project in Greece to assist the repatriation of migrants to countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as it emerged that 18,500 had voluntarily left since the onset of the Greek debt crisis.
The British embassy unveiled the programme in Athens on Wednesday as part of an effort to stem the flow of immigrants to the UK.
“Our assessment is that the UK remains a primary final destination country for many of the irregular migrants in Greece,” said the British ambassador, John Kittmer.
“British funding for this programme is ultimately about reducing illegal migration to the UK. That is why we are co-operating with the Greek government as it faces the continuing challenge of illegal migration.”
With one of the longest coastlines in Europe and some of its most porous borders, Greece has long been seen as the easiest backdoor entrance to the EU. Migrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the vast majority smuggled from neighbouring Turkey, view it as a stepping stone to a better life. In recent years refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war have swelled the numbers arriving…