After the closure of the Balkan route, the European Union border agency Frontex warns that Europe is woefully unprepared for another large wave of migrants.
One year ago this month saw the start of the migrant crisis which has seen over a million migrants from the Middle East and North Africa flood into the European Union (EU) via Turkey. German Chancellor Angela Merkel then open the flood gates to the mainly Muslim migrants, inviting them to travel across the Balkans through Hungary to settle in Germany and western Europe.
Though the Balkan route is now closed, Frontex believes that many of the vulnerabilities that led to the start of the migrant crisis last year have yet to be resolved, Die Welt reports.
Frontex marks June 18th 2015 as the crucial start of the migrant crisis. On this date, the Macedonian government allowed migrants temporary 72 hour permits to transit through the country to carry on to Hungary and to Germany.
A year after that date the border agency sees little change in the causes for the migrant crisis: the Syrian civil war is still unresolved and North African people smugglers are more active than ever with thousands of migrants being rescued off the Libyan and Italian coasts every week.
“The biggest threats and vulnerabilities that affect the region have not changed compared to the past few years,” Frontex wrote in a new report. The agency said that if the situation is left to individual nation states, like Macedonia, there could be a repeat of last year with the Macedonians allowing migrants to freely travel through, rather than hold off migrants at the border with Greece.
Frontex says there are several actions that need to be undertaken by EU member states to ensure the migrant crisis does not rage out of control. Primarily, they recommend that not only should the EU support the Turkey deal to stem the tide of migrants from Turkey but they should also work in tandem to support a more secure common border, rather than leave border security to each nation state individually.
Frontex also believes that rumours circulated via social media attracted far more migrants than would have come otherwise, with false reports of easy money, free apartments and loose women proving incredibly hard to combat. Many EU member states were only prepared for migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan but in reality were faced with huge numbers from countries like Pakistan, Morocco, Algeria and elsewhere.
Frontext were also concerned that the ensuing chaos and confusion led to the smuggling of Islamic State fighters into Europe, noting that at least two of the Paris attackers had been able to sneak into the EU posing as refugees.