Less than half of all failed asylum seekers and economic migrants who have no right to remain are deported from the European Union (EU), it has been revealed.
Just 42 per cent are being kicked out of continent according to Frontex, the EU’s border agency. Reported by EurActiv, Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri sought to blame Greek border guards for the failure, but critics have slammed the EU for wider policy mistakes.
Mr. Leggeri said that he expected Greek officials to be sending back some 500 economic migrants a day to Turkey according to a new deal, which came into force last March.
Instead, just 748 migrants have been returned across the Aegean Sea in nearly eight months, while the EU has taken in 2,761 Syrians in exchange from Turkey in the same period.
Mr. Leggeri was speaking at a meeting of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), who have called on the chancellor to impose a strict 200,000 cap on the number of migrants allowed into the country annually.
The chancellor rejected the rigid cap, but her party is said to be considering a more flexible “breathing benchmark” in a stark shift in policy since 2015 when they were promising “no upper limit”.
Data released by Frontex on Friday revealed that as the number of migrants arriving in Greece has fallen, the number reaching Italy via the “central Mediterranean route” has risen sharply.
Numbers rose by nearly one-fifth in 2016 compared to 2015, hitting around 181,000 – the highest number ever recorded.
Nigerians made up the largest portion of the migrants on this route, followed by nationals from Eritrea, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, and Gambia.
UKIP Home Affairs spokesman, Jane Collins MEP, said the figures “showed the incompetence of the European Asylum process and the urgency for the UK to extricate itself from the EU”.
She told the Daily Express: “The UK has always had a proud heritage of giving shelter to real, genuine asylum seekers but what we have seen over the last few years has been the exploitation of naive EU leaders by economic migrants, criminal gangs and even terrorists.
“To hear that we are deporting less than half of failed asylum seekers is confirmation of the EU and Frontex’s incompetence. No doubt they will say they need more money. In the case of Greece that may be true but they could make life much better for themselves by leaving the single currency instead of being a slave to Frankfurt and Brussels.
“There needs to be accountability for this failure and if needs be, jobs must go from those who failed to do their jobs.
“This is the safety and security of the whole continent which the EU is taking so lightly, despite the devastating attacks faced over the last years.
“Theresa May must get on with the process of removing us from this dangerous and failed project.”