Sunday

19th Nov 2017

Europol: Schengen enlargement will boost irregular migration

Allowing Bulgaria and Romania to join the border-free Schengen zone is likely to spur irregular migration through Turkey and the Black Sea, an analyst from EU's police agency Europol said on Tuesday (14 June) in Sofia.

"The accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen zone has a potential to raise the pressure on the Turkish-Greek border and lead to increased targeting of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast by illegal immigrants," Jean-Dominique Nollet, head of Europol's Analysis and Information Department said during a conference in the Bulgarian capital.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Romania and Bulgaria would bring Schengen borders to the edge of the Black Sea (Photo: wikipedia)

Even if the entry of the two countries would not "change the face of the earth," he stressed the need for risk assessments and other appropriate measures to be taken, especially since the Balkan region has seen the biggest increase in smuggling and human and drug trafficking in Europe in recent years.

His comments will add fuel to the debate whether Bulgaria and Romania should be given an entry date this year, after EU interior ministers postponed a decision on the move until after the summer break, awaiting more progress in the fight against corruption and organised crime.

Both countries had hoped to join the border-free area of 26 countries in 2012, but opposition from the Netherlands, France, Germany and a handful of other states with mounting domestic debates about immigration have hampered these plans.

A crackdown on corrupt border officials in Romania took place earlier this year in a bid to increase trust in its capacity to secure the Schengen frontier. Border police last week also arrested the wife of a diplomat from Congo after finding more than 18,000 cigarette packs hidden in her car.

"Using diplomatic immunity, the smugglers were bringing cigarettes to Romania at least twice a week," organised crime prosecutor Mircea Andres said during a press conference.

Meanwhile, in the Nordic countries - once a safe haven for refugees and irregular migrants - the anti-immigrant debate is heating up. The Finnish capital of Helsinki on Tuesday evacuated several Roma camps, following a decision by the city counci - a move similar to the French crackdown last summer.

Denmark, where the government had to give in to demands from the anti-immigrant People's Party when securing a vote on the pension reform - is also going ahead with increased customs controls on its borders.

Danish foreign minister Lene Espersen on Wednesday is expected to travel to Berlin in a bid to smooth over tensions with its southern neighbour over this controversial move. Meetings with the Swedish and the Polish foreign ministers are also scheduled in the coming days.

According to a statement on the Danish justice ministry's website: "The agreement implies a strengthening of policing in order to enable the Danish police to act upon specific requests from customs officers. However, this does not mean that the Danish police will be permanently present at the border."

Neither will passport controls be re-instated or individual checks of every single person crossing the border, the ministry says.

New customs control buildings will be built on the borders and "spot checks" will be carried out, however. Number plates will also be registered using video surveillance.

UK grants highest number of EU citizenships

Over 810,000 people were given EU citizenship in 2010, with the UK topping the list in numbers and Luxembourg agreeing the highest amount in relation to its size.

MEPs point finger at Malta

The European Parliament debated shady deals and rule of law in Malta after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, while the Commission wanted to avoid a "political fight".

Austrian privacy case against Facebook hits legal snag

Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems may sue Facebook Ireland in an Austrian court but won't be able to pursue a class action suit in Austria, according to a non-binding opinion by a top EU court advisor.

EU Parliament 'cookie' restrictions worry online media

The European Parliament and groups representing newspapers and magazines are at odds over how new privacy rules will affect the media, especially restrictions on website cookies - but one MEP thinks it could spark new business models.

EU Commission to target fake news

Mariya Gabriel, the EU digital economy commissioner, announces expert panel and says fake news can be tackled if people are given credible and diverse information.

MEPs ponder how to fight tax havens

After the Paradise Papers brought new revelations about tax dodging across the globe, including in the EU, the European Parliament wonders how to step up the fight.

MEPs point finger at Malta

The European Parliament debated shady deals and rule of law in Malta after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, while the Commission wanted to avoid a "political fight".

News in Brief

  1. Bonn climate talks extend into Friday evening
  2. UK needs to move on Brexit by early December, Tusk says
  3. Puigdemont extradition decision postponed to December
  4. Ireland wants written UK guarantees to avoid hard border
  5. US did not obstruct climate talks, says German minister
  6. EU signs social declaration
  7. Puigdemont to be heard by Belgian judges
  8. Steep fall in migrants reaching EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  2. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  4. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  5. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  6. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  9. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  10. World Vision20 November: Exchange of Views at the EP on Children Affected by the Syria Crisis
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  12. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy

Latest News

  1. EU keeps former Soviet states at arm's length
  2. EU leaders make pledge on social issues after populist backlash
  3. EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK
  4. Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal
  5. Mind the gap: inequality in our cities
  6. Climate activists 'disappointed' with EU at climate talks
  7. Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin
  8. German coalition talks in near collapse