The European border protection agency Frontex yesterday published a report in which it reveals that the numbers of arrivals of migrants without documentation have recovered the figures prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, which had abruptly interrupted mobility across the planet. The finding that migratory movements have recovered their intensity coincides with a period of increasingly intense criticism towards Frontex, which is accused of rejecting thousands of people at the border without offering them the possibility of processing an asylum application, which in theory would be contrary to European law.
Frontex is currently operating mainly in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the complex maritime border of Greece where thousands of candidates for clandestine immigration arrive through Turkey.
According to Frontex data, most of the intercepted and returned immigrants come from Syria, where the civil war does not end completely, although most of them no longer use the road that passes through Greece but instead do so through the Balkans. , which has become the busiest route to smuggle into European territory.
According to the agency’s report, the number of people who entered the EU irregularly in the year that just ended “is just under 200,000”, which represents that “pre-pandemic levels have been exceeded.” The figure of the Frontex report It is the highest since 2017 and 57% more than in 2020, a period in which the restrictions imposed around the world, including the countries of origin, by the pandemic drastically reduced the arrival of migrants. Compared to 2019, the figure for 2021 represents an increase of 36%.
According to the agency’s experts, the figures “suggest that there are other factors in addition to the lifting of restrictions on world mobility” to explain “this increase in migratory pressure” in the European Union, such as the economic situation in many African countries or the arrival of the Taliban dictatorship in power Afghanistan.
Frontex, in the spotlight
The main operational novelty is the appearance of an unexpected migratory flow through Belarus, which Frontex describes as a “hybrid attack” against the EU, based on a plan to attract people from Iraq by air with the promise that they could easily cross the Polish border. It is also a politically very complicated phenomenon for the agency, which is based in Warsaw, the capital of the country most affected by this phenomenon, but whose government is experiencing a political struggle with the European institutions and has rejected any help from this organization. The Polish nationalist government has preferred to deploy the army. Across the border with Belarus Frontex has counted just 8,000 people, but that represents a colossal increase of more than a thousand percent.
Although the main route used by the migrants is still the central Mediterranean area, a region through which they arrived 65,362 people in an irregular situationIn other words, almost a third of the total, with an increase of 83%, the Balkan route has increased dramatically and according to Frontex its agents have detected more than 60,000 illegal entries, 125% more than the previous year. Between the Central Mediterranean and the Balkans they account for practically two thirds of arrivals. The Balkan route appears as the most attractive in recent times because it allows you to start from countries that do not ask for a visa like Serbia and keep trying again and again until they manage to enter Croatia. The vast majority of the irregular migrants were Syrians, followed by Tunisians, Moroccans, Algerians and Afghans.
With regard to Spain, the migratory pressure in the Canary Islands or in the Strait has remained at the figures of previous years, with a sum of around 40,000 arrivals.
Frontex’s way of proceeding, especially in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, is being highly criticized. An investigation has been opened in the European Parliament and three non-governmental organizations have lodged a complaint with the Court of Justice of the EU on behalf of asylum seekers who, according to the complaint, have been “attacked, forcibly transferred back to the sea, collectively expelled and finally abandoned in rafts without means of navigation, food or water. ‘ Various media have called for the resignation of Frontex’s chief executive, the Frenchman Fabrice Leggeri. Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu declared last week that Frontex “is the dirtiest institution in the world” and a campaign has been launched in Switzerland to cancel the country’s contribution to the agency.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism