Emergency irregular migrants: the numbers and what the EU must do

Politics - December 9, 2022

Frontex, a European agency which has the task of controlling the external borders of the states of the European Union and of those adhering to the Schengen treaty, has produced a very clear report on the migratory phenomenon. From January 1st to today, the Old Continent has seen a 77% higher number of irregular immigrants enter its soil than in the same period but in 2021. Only in the month of October there were 42 thousand irregular entries.

The numbers

Overall, throughout the European Union, there are 281,000 irregular migrants who have crossed our borders. The Frontex report analyzed the number of crossings, border by border, and the number of landings in each coastal state. The number is worrying, above all because such a high number of irregular entries has not been recorded since 2016. That was the most dramatic year on the migratory front. Nearly five thousand people died in the Mediterranean alone, two out of every 100. In 2015 and 2016 immigration had such high numbers especially due to the advance of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Everything stopped, or rather calmed down, when Europe, mainly at the behest of Germany, paid Erdogan’s Turkey three billion euros to close the Balkan route. Now, looking at the numbers from Frontex, it seems to have gone back to 2016. Precisely when the ministers of defense and foreign affairs of the member countries of the European Union are meeting to discuss this dossier as well.

The main and most worrying route is once again the Balkan route. 128,438 migrants entered Europe by land via Turkey. In terms of percentages, a +168% is recorded compared to the first 10 months of 2021. According to Frontex reports, the fact that migrants can reach Belgrade airport without a visa is crucial for their migration. From here they can easily reach the Croatian borders. The second most traveled route by migrants is the central Mediterranean route: this involves the maritime borders of Libya, Tunisia, Malta and Italy. The journey lasts from 2 to 5 years because in most cases those arriving in Libya or Tunisia come from Sub-Saharan Africa. A 59% increase in the number of irregular crossings detected in the January-October period was recorded, reports Frontex. With 85,000 it has become the second most active migration route.

The Italian position

Also, for this reason, in the light of what is happening with the NGOs, the Italian defense minister, Guido Crosetto, wanted to be clear with his European counterparts. It is necessary to take a European line on immigration. The Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani shares the same idea, who said: “We ask for strong European action in the short, medium and long term that looks to Africa”. This is because, according to the head of Italian diplomacy, “the countries of destination cannot take charge of reception over a long period, given that one or two years pass between arrivals and periods for analyzing asylum applications”. For this reason, from the Italian point of view, the time has come to also examine “the current rules that can be improved”. A clear reference to the Dublin system defined as “fatigued”. Tajani added furthermore, that solidarity cannot be ignored and that today more than ever “Italy cannot be left alone” and “we need more Europe”.