Europe Will Definitely Face High Migratory Pressure, as per Frontex

Frontex agents in albania in 2023. (Source: Frontex)

Frontex, the European Union’s border and coast guard agency has published its latest risk assessment report this Monday. Key takeaways include predictions of factors influencing future migration patterns, as well as potential changes in smuggling and trafficking patterns.

Migratory Pressure Highest Since 2016

According to the report, migratory pressure at land borders is the highest it has been since 2016, though the increase compared to 2021 is less noticeable. An outsized share of 135 292 illegal border-crossings were reported on the borders to Serbia (74 percent of all crossings at land bor- ders). Of note, three nationalities (Syrian, followed at a distance by Afghans and nationals of Türkiye) accounted for 68 percent of reported illegal border-crossings at land borders.

Frontex emphasizes that at the land borders in 2022, on the Western Balkan route, nationalities so far rarely seen were reported, such as Tunisians, Indians and Burundians.

The central reason behind the heightened pressure is still a deteriorating socioeconomic climate in origin and transit countries, further compounded by humanitarian crises and political unrest in parts of the Middle East and South Asia.

The War in Ukraine Could Bring About a Dangerous Novelty: Migrants as Instruments for Destabilization

The war in Ukraine and increasing tensions with Russia and Belarus hold a host of scenarios that could at short notice have an immense effect on the EU land borders, be they due to refugee out- flows (orderly via border-crossing points or via the green border) or men fleeing further mobilization.

Besides, given the extent of hostility between Russia and the West and the reduced interdependence between them, the likelihood of the instrumentalization of migrants by Russia and Belarus has increased. Importantly, the instrumentalization of migrants may not only be limited to the eastern land borders as Russia’s allies and proxies to the south and south-east could be leveraged.

Visa Policies Have to Align in Order to Control Influx into Europe

One major development is that the Western Balkans route could once again hold surprises for European border management as visa policies change and loopholes are exploited. Although steps in the direction of visa policy alignment have shown promising results. There is a chance that migrants reroute to other countries in the Western Balkans, where some of the concerned nationalities still remain visa free.

 

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