U.S. Allegedly Pushing Greece for New, High-Security ID Cards

Greece is feeling the pressure from the United States to issue new, high-security ID cards in light of terrorist attacks in Europe, according to an Eleftheros Typos report.

Allegedly, the U.S. is putting pressure on Athens, warning that if the “vulnerable” Greek ID cards are not replaced immediately, the Visa Waiver Program for Greek citizens who want to travel to the United States will be lifted. Both sides, however, have denied the allegation.

The Eleftheros Typos report further says that members of Homeland Security and a senior member of the U.S. Embassy had meetings at Greece’s Interior Ministry on Wednesday to discuss the issue of the ID cards.

The objective of the Interior Ministry is to announce the tender for the project in 2017 so that the new IDs can replace the existing ones in 2019. The main obstacle is the cost of the high-security ID cards, which is approximately 80 million euros. The Greek government is reluctant to pass the cost to citizens, charging 10 euros each for the new ID cards, as it has been proposed by the Citizen Protection Ministry. Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas had said earlier that the “current ID cards can easily be forged and then used by counterfeiter rings for issuing passports.”