TALLINN - Estonia is ready to assist Greece in launching a rapid response operation on its maritime border through a joint initiative of the European border and coast guard agency Frontex by deploying two patrol vessels and 20 border guards in the area.
"According to Frontext, maritime border in particular requires more effective surveillance, and Estonia is ready to send an additional patrol boat with a four-strong team to assist Greece, and also extend the period of service of one patrol boat already deployed in the area," Estonian Minister of the Interior Mart Helme said. "Estonia is also prepared to send 20 experts in the area to support Greece in guarding the external border."
The director general of the Police and Border Guard Board, Elmar Vaher, said that the police are continuously exchanging information with Frontex, the partner states as well as with the Police and Border Guard Board officials who are presently ensuring security on the EU external border in Greece.
"Considering the migratory pressure on Greece, we proposed today for the Police and Border Guard Board to deploy as much help on the European external border as possible, both in terms of personnel and equipment. We already have the experience of rapid police force deployment from 2015 and 2016, when altogether three ESTPOL units were sent to Slovenia," Vaher noted.
The minister of the interior is to make the corresponding aid offer at an extraordinary meeting of the European Union home affairs ministers in Brussels on Wednesday. Frontex will draw up an operation plan based on member states' offers, and the extent of aid by Estonia will be determined accordingly. Helme said that Estonia is also prepared to deliver on its offer to Greece directly without mediation by Frontex.