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Germany pledges further help to strengthen Greek borders

The German government has confirmed that it intends to send officers and two patrol boats to protect the Greek border. Germany's interior minister called on other EU nations also to pitch in.

Germany plans to send two German Federal Police boats and up to 100 border patrol officials to the Greek coast as of March 1, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Thursday.

De Maiziere said Greece deserved additional support from Europe on account of its geographic position and the sheer numbers of migrants entering the country.

"Europe has to be able to rely on Greece to contribute its own part," the German minister said. "In return, Greece will be able to rely on Europe to deliver."

Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke about the refugee crisis during talks held in London

There are currently 50 German police officers in Greece as part of the European border agency, Frontex.

De Maiziere said, however, that other EU nations should also contribute more to Frontex and help strengthen Greece's borders and coastlines.

"The notion of solidarity [in the EU] should not be based on the extent to which each member state is affected by the crisis," he said.

Merkel and Tsipras join talks in London

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras found time to talk on the sidelines of a London donor conference to support Syrians. Syrians account for the largest number of refugees arriving in the EU.

In addition to discussing measures to stabilize the situation on the ground in Greece, the two leaders also touched on the refugee crisis itself. Tsipras said Greece expected the European Union to keep its promise and help the debt-stricken Mediterranean country deal with the ongoing flow of refugees and added that Turkey also had to live up to its pledge to stem the flow.

Greece had previously voted against an aid package to Turkey to the tune of 3 billion euros ($3.36 billion) to assist the EU with the refugee influx, but European leaders approved the financing for the deal on Wednesday.

Infografik Flüchtlingsroute und Grenzkontrollen im Schengen-Raum Englisch

ss/sms (AFP, dpa)

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