Thursday

18th Apr 2019

Irregular border-crossings halved, EU commission says

  • Irregular immigration down 50 percent, says commission (Photo: wfbakker2)

Irregular migration into the EU fell to its lowest level since 2008, the European Commission revealed Monday (3 June).

A total of 13,600 irregular crossings were reported at the EU's Schengen borders in the last three months of 2012, a 52 percent reduction on 2011. The figures form part of a Schengen 'health check' covering six months from November - April 2013, by the EU executive on the functioning of the Schengen area.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The Schengen agreement offers passport-free travel to more than 400 million EU citizens and 26 countries.

The main fall occurred in Greece, with the commission reporting that the "situation changed in August 2012, when Greece redeployed around 1,800 border guards at its land border with Turkey". Italy accounted for 4,231 detected persons, marginally higher than the 4,035 reported by the Greek authorities.

The commission also revealed that it had opened two new cases regarding allegations that Germany and Spain had violated rules preventing governments from using national border controls

Meanwhile, the number of asylum applications from countries in the Western Balkans also fell by 44 percent in early 2013. The most popular European destinations were Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg.

"We owe it to our citizens to make sure Schengen remains an area without border controls," said EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in a statement.

However, governments are becoming increasingly anxious to re-assert more control over their borders.

EU justice and home affairs ministers will meet in Luxembourg on Thursday (6 June) in a bid to sign off on legislation aimed at amending the Schengen borders code by setting up a framework allowing governments to reintroduce controls at internal borders in exceptional circumstances. The Schengen rule-book currently allows the reintroduction of border controls when there is "a serious threat to public policy or internal security."

Under the agreement struck between MEPs and ministers last week, countries unable to secure their borders would be eligible to EU financial support, as well as to additional aid from Frontex, the European Asylum Support Office or the EU police agency Europol.

Meanwhile, the EU executive could propose to allow a temporary reintroduction of border controls for a limited period of time on the basis of a qualified majority vote, while governments could shut down their borders if they felt threatened by political demonstrations, high-profile political meetings, or sporting events.

Ministers will also assess a regulation establishing an evaluation and monitoring mechanism to oversee the implementation of legislation related to the Schengen area.

Germany to veto Schengen enlargement

Germany says it will veto Romania and Bulgaria's bid to join the border-free Schengen area at a meeting in Brussels later this week.

MEPs boycott negotiations with member states in Schengen row

The European Parliament decided on Thursday to boycott negotiations with member states on five home affairs legislative packages until a “satisfactory outcome” on how rules governing the EU borderless area are achieved.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us