Migrant stopped for a routine check by Greek police ‘shot and wounded an officer before killing himself’
- Man stopped by motorcycle patrol before opening fire in central Athens
- He fled the scene and was found minutes later, dead from a head wound
- Sources say wound self-inflicted, but it’s not known if police returned fire
A migrant stopped by Greek police shot and wounded officers before killing himself.
The man was questioned by a motorcycle patrol before opening fire on officers in central Athens, reports say.
He was found dead minutes later, from a head wound that is believed to be self-inflicted.
Police have refused to say whether he was fatally wounded when officers returned fire.
The incident was sparked when officers asked for the man’s papers. It is believed the migrant then drew a gun and fired, wounding an officer in the shoulder.
Just days before the shooting, EU bosses said they wanted Greece to take back asylum-seekers from mid-March.
Brussels hopes this will help restore the bloc’s migration policies, which collapsed under a mass influx last year.
Under EU rules, the first country of entry is responsible for handling an asylum claim, but that system broke down last year in Greece, the main gateway to Europe for more than a million refugees and migrants.
Unable to cope, Greece let many of them pass through on their own to Germany and other wealthy EU states in defiance of the bloc’s rules. That led countries along the route gradually to close their borders, stranding many in Greece, which struggled to offer them proper shelter.
The bloc’s asylum policy and its zone of internal free travel both collapsed last year as an uncontrolled flow of migrants and refugees triggered bitter disputes between EU states on how to handle them.
Pictured: Detectives takes notes as they inspect the scene of the shooting in central Athens.
These disputes remain unresolved and more than 62,000 people are still in Greece, even though an EU agreement with Turkey in March reduced the arrivals to a trickle.
The failure is in large part due to reluctance by EU states to take in people from Greece and Italy to help process their asylum requests and ease the burden on the two frontline states.
So far, fewer than 8,200 people have been moved from these two Mediterranean countries to other EU states under a plan that was supposed to cover 160,000 people and which expires next September. The Commission called on EU states to step up.
The bloc’s migration chief, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: ‘Our aim is to relocate all those in Italy and Greece who are eligible for relocation within the next year.’