All indicators concerning illegal immigration into the European Union were lower in 2009 compared to 2008, according to figures by the EU border agency Frontex, presented at a press briefing held on June 16 in Athens.
As Frontex Deputy Executive Director Gil Arias-Fernandez noted however, 88% of illegal immigrants - almost nine in 10 - who entered the EU in 2009 had come via Greece – this rate was 75% percent in 2008.
Fernandez also confirmed that the first regional Frontex Operations Office will open in Piraeus later this year - with the office opening in July but only launching full operations in October. Until the end of 2011, it will operate as a pilot project employing 13 experts from various EU countries, and it will subsequently be decided whether to continue its operation.