Monday

11th Dec 2017

Report: EU border crackdown puts migrants in danger

  • EU governments have spent some €238 million in erecting fences (Photo: Vadim Ghirda)

Billions spent by the EU and member states to curb migration flows into Europe are forcing people to take increasingly dangerous and covert routes, according to a report.

Some 330,000 people seeking international protection are expected to arrive by the Mediterranean sea this year through "overt" routes. But around 900,000 are set to file for asylum.

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.

The gap between the two figures suggests a massive shift towards covert routes and means, the UK-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) said in a report out Thursday (15 September).

"While on the surface, the number of people arriving in Europe has fallen, the rate of those taking hidden routes to Europe has not been affected and is likely to increase," said Marta Foresti, author of the report, in a statement.

Last year, some 35 percent of all arrivals came to the EU using covert means like false documents. In 2016, the number is set to increase to 60 percent.

Ouvert routes include travelling through Morocco to Spain or crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy, among others.

False documents, bribing border guard, hiding in vehicles, overstaying visas, fall under the covert route category.

Europol and migrant smuggling

The EU police agency Europol earlier this week issued similar findings.

It noted migrant smugglers have adapted to stricter border controls and "use new routes and modi operandi to evade law enforcement."

The agency had also found a 295 percent increase, when compared to last year, in the number of Turkish nationals that now ply the migrant smuggling trade.

More than 12,000 new migrant smuggling suspects were reported and identified by Europol in the first eight months of this year alone.

The EU, for its part, signed off a migrant swap deal with Turkey in March that has resulted in a sharp drop of people crossing the Aegean to the Greek islands.

Hidden costs

But the ODI report suggests the bilateral agreement with Turkey, among other efforts like trust funds in Syria and Africa, has had little overall affect on stopping people from seeking other ways to enter Europe.

"There is a significant chance that in the long term, border controls instituted by Europe could end up increasing flows," noted the report.

The researchers had also found little evidence to suggest that efforts to address the root causes slowed migration flows.

They suggested that the some €15.3 billion spent by the EU and member states since December 2014 do not demonstrate the intended results.

They also estimated that another €27.3 billion will need to be spent on the "reception, procedural and resettlement costs" of people who arrived in 2015 and those expected to arrive until the end of this year.

Those costs and hidden flows that help drive migrant smuggling can be curtailed by opening up more legal channels, say the researchers.

Leaders to avoid Estonian asylum plan at EU summit

The Estonian EU presidency plan for a 'Dublin' reform appears hard-pressed to gain traction given it will not be discussed by EU leaders at a December summit - and that the EU parliament has described it as a non-starter.

News in Brief

  1. Greece to move migrants from islands to mainland, says NGO
  2. EU and Japan finalise trade deal
  3. Tusk: During transition period, UK will follow EU law
  4. SPD and CDU/CSU meet next week on 'Grand Coalition'
  5. Erdogan demands treaty update in historic Greece visit
  6. UK will contribute to 2019-2020 EU budget
  7. UK and EU agree: no hard border on Irish island
  8. Citizens' rights will be 'enshrined in UK law'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  4. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  5. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  7. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  8. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  9. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  10. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage
  11. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity