Frontex Head: Refugee-migratory flows diminished but still the western maritime route represents thriving business

The volume of undocumented people reaching the European Union’s borders has been diminished for a third consecutive year, even though migration flows remain at record high levels. The Head of Frontex, the official E.U. border supervision institution, Fabrice Leggeri, argued that approximately 150.000 undocumented people reached E.U. borders in 2018. This is a marked decrease from the 204.000 arrivals recorded in 2017. Still, despite greater investments in staff and surveillance equipment to tighten up border controls, an enormous number of people still arrive in Europe to seek for a better future.

Europe has experienced a humanitarian crisis since the onset of Arab revolts in early 2011, with an explosion in the numbers of potential asylum seekers arriving mostly through the Mediterranean maritime routes to Europe’s naval boundaries. These developments have not only contributed to the rise of far-right movements in European countries but also destabilised the integrity of local societies which appear unable to accommodate the humanitarian requirements of people coming from the war-torn areas of the near-abroad.

In 2018 more than 191.000 people were barred entry into Europe from 183.000 back in 2017. Still, incoming undocumented people reached the lowest threshold since 2012 in Europe according to the Head of Frontex. The most active waterway for the year 2018 was the western branch of the Mediterranean Sea. At the height of refugee and migrant crisis in 2015, more than a million of people have reached Europe from the easternmost branch of the Mediterranean Sea via Turkey and Greek islands. Today, this route has effectively restricted illegal sea transportation flows, despite the non-efficient enforcement of the EU-Turkish deal ratified in March 2016. The deal sought to strengthen border and naval controls to diminish migratory flows from Turkey to the Greek islands.

The state of concern for the year 2018 is Morocco – the main getaway for undocumented people trying to reach Europe. The majority of migratory flows is consisted by Algerians, Moroccans and Guineans, seeking to arrive in Europe through the Port of Gibraltar, Spanish and Portuguese shores.

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