Back in 2015, more than 1 million people crossed international borders into Europe, with the majority of these immigrants choosing small Greek villages as a gateway to progress further into Northern Europe. Five years ago, it was a different story as these villages welcomed these individuals with open arms and offered them what they could. However, fast-forward to 2020 and another influx of illegal immigrants are travelling to Greece, but these Greek villages can no longer help and support these illegal migrants. With the threat of coronavirus hitting Europe, mainland Greece and the islands are trying to protect their population whilst minimising the risk of transmission.
The number of illegal immigrants has not yet reached the amount Greece faced 5 years ago, but it is growing… leading to tougher borders during these difficult times.
A quote from the Mayor of Idomeni, Xanthoula Soupli, “The first-time migrants came to Idomeni, we all opened our arms and homes, offering what we could. It’s not the same this time. We do not want them in Idomeni, they only cause problems. Unfortunately, they don’t even come from war zones anymore.” This is the general consensus from many of these small Greek towns, causing hostility and resentment. What once were hilltops and empty land, now house thousands of illegal immigrants with camps sprawled across the hills. Conditions are poor and in order to pass through into Northern Europe, many are attempting to jump onto cargo trains with the hopes they aren’t caught. The open and unobstructed train tracks allow these individuals to cross the border into Europe.
So, what can be done to secure these train tracks and stop illegal immigrants from accessing this mode of transport?
Could a form of temporary physical security be the solution these small Greek villages are looking for, to prevent an influx of migrants like they faced in 2015? A temporary system would stop individuals accessing the yards where cargo trains pass through, which in turn would stop them using these areas to gain further access into Europe. Temporary solutions can hold up against force whilst also providing anti-climb properties.
The question is, how does Greece prevent illegal immigrants from using them as a gateway and could temporary security measures be a step in the right direction?