The annual report of the European border and coast guard agency, Frontex clearly shows that the great migration from Africa to Europe will go on and increase until the EU radically changes its actions. Now it merely helps Libyan human traffickers.
Only last year half a million people moved to Europe illegally, three times less than in 2015, but still twice as many people as in the previous years. For the first three months of 2016, migrants arrived mainly to Greece from Turkey. After the agreement to return the migrants had been reached between Turkey and the European Union, this route considerably lost its appeal. Almost 200,000 people arrived in Europe through the Central Mediterranean route from Libya. 18% more than the year before, indicating the route to be the most preferred.
Approximately 170,000 people who had been denied asylum were turned back from Europe. It is only a small portion of those who were residence status in Europe was rejected.
According to the reported information provided by migrants, 17% of people declared to be Syrian which represented the highest share of those illegally entering the EU in 2016. They were followed by Afghans with 11% and Iraqis with 7%. However, this information has to be taken with a grain of salt. Last year, 18,000 migrants were caught using forged documents and it is difficult to estimate how many fraudulent cases went undetected. “Document fraud emerged as a key criminal activity linked to the migration crisis. Fraudulent documents can be in fact used or reused for many other criminal activities. This will continue to represent a substantial threat to the security of the EU in 2017,” reports Frontex.
On Libyan Human Traffickers the Frontex report states:
“Libyan based smugglers, in particular, heavily relied on the international Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and associated SAR as well as humanitarian assistance efforts, turning it into a distinct tactical advantage. It is not a new strategy, but the scope of the problem is alarming. In this context, it transpired that both border surveillance and SAR missions close to, or within, the 12-mile territorial waters of Libya have unintended consequences. Namely, they influence smugglers’ planning and act as a pull factor that compounds the difficulties inherent in border control and saving lives at sea. Dangerous crossings on un seaworthy and overloaded vessels were organized with the main purpose of being detected by rescue vessels. (EUNAVFOR Med/Frontex and NGO) Apparently, all parties involved in SAR operations in the Central Mediterranean unintentionally help criminals achieve their objectives at minimum cost, strengthen their business model by increasing the chances of success (in bringing migrants to Europe – ed.) Migrants and refugees – encouraged by the stories of those who had successfully made it in the past – attempt the dangerous crossing since they are aware of and rely on humanitarian assistance to reach the EU.”