Wednesday

14th Nov 2018

Smugglers test migrant Black Sea route to Romania

  • Some 200 migrants in boats were led to the port in Romania over the weekend. (Photo: Alexandru Panoiu)

Smugglers are possibly looking to reopen a Black Sea migrant smuggling route between Turkey and Romania, with hundreds of people having already arrived by boat over the past few weeks.

The EU's border agency, Frontex, said on Tuesday (12 September) that the recent arrivals are likely part of a broader effort by smugglers to see if they can start sending people towards Romania instead of the Greek islands.

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

  • Frontex says the roughness of the Black Sea and the long distance from Turkey to Romania discourages many from attempting the route. (Photo: wikipedia)

"It is a bit early to talk about the route reopening, but it could be that the smugglers are testing how it works - that is a possibility," said a spokeswoman from the Warsaw-based agency.

"We think it might just be testing. We've been watching this route since 2011," she said.

The Romanian coastguard had announced over the weekend that some 200 refugees from Iran and Iraq had arrived by boat at the port of Mangalia, Romania. One of the boats was carrying 36 children.

Eugenio Ambrosi, the Brussels office regional director of the International Organization for Migration, also said on Tuesday that the arrivals in Romania are "a clear indication" that traffickers and smugglers are looking into alternatives.

Romania is not a part of the passport-free Schengen travel area. However, with the Western Balkan route closed and people getting stuck at the Greek islands, some may see Romania as a more attractive option.

The arrivals in Romania also come amid a relative daily increase in people arriving on the Greek islands, when compared to last year.

An average of some 93 per day are said still to be landing on the Greek coasts, with many ending up in lengthy asylum procedures and in poor conditions.

Almost 1,900 have been sent back to Turkey since the EU and Ankara's migrant deal was agreed to in early 2016.

These returns may see a dramatic increase should the Greek council of state plenary rule against pending cases filed by Syrians on whether Turkey is safe for refugees.

Those cases are still pending, while political pressure mounts among Greek authorities to fast track the appeals process.

Opinion

EU charting the wrong course in migration policy

European officials have faced strong criticism for prioritising security interests over the rights of vulnerable people, in their efforts to stem migration flows.

Xenophobia on the rise in Germany, study finds

Germans, in particular those living in the east, are demonstrating higher levels of xeonphobia and backlash against religious minorities than when compared to five years ago, according to a new study.

Magazine

'Integration' - the missing factor in new EU migration fund

An estimated 80 percent of Syrian refugees in the EU are unemployed - despite this, the integration of asylum seekers and migration remains outside the European Commission's policy objectives in its latest budget proposals for regional development and cohesion policy.

News in Brief

  1. Draft Brexit deal on London cabinet agenda on Wednesday
  2. EU proposes no visa for UK citizens after Brexit
  3. EU parliament 'deeply concerned' on Romania judiciary
  4. Macedonia's ex-PM flees to Hungary, seeks asylum
  5. Cyprus opens first new border crossings in eight years
  6. Putin's Austrian dance partner cancels Moscow visit
  7. Political deadlock over Sweden Democrat influence
  8. Court: Catalan referendum organisers must repay costs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  2. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline
  3. EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure
  4. EU unable to fully trace €1bn spent on refugees in Turkey
  5. Romanian leaders trade jibes over upcoming EU presidency
  6. EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press
  7. EU 'Magnitsky Act' must bear its proper name
  8. Fear of nationalist surge marks European memorials

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us