The number of migrants aspiring to reach Europe has seen a sharp rise since the beginning of this year, according to a document by German security agencies marked ‘confidential’.
According to the document, seen by Bild, it is thought as many as 6.6 million people in North Africa, Jordan, and Turkey were waiting to begin their journey to Europe by the end of April this year.
The number has surged 12 per cent since the end of January when it was estimated these countries were hosting around 5.9 million migrants planning to reach European Union (EU) nations.
Citing information from security circles, the paper said 76,000 migrants are currently stuck on the Balkans route to Europe, with 62,500 of those being hosted by Greece.
By the end of April, some 37,300 people, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, had arrived in Italy by boat. Fifty-five per cent of the newcomers hail from Nigeria, Bangladesh, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and the Gambia.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is planning to campaign on promising to fight the root causes of mass migration to Europe in the German federal election later this year.
In its draft election manifesto for 2017, the party says it hopes to secure more deals “modelled on the EU’s arrangement with Turkey”, especially with countries in North Africa.
The document also states that migrants who are “rescued from drowning, by tugboats” should be taken back to the coast of Africa, with North African nations providing food and shelter in consultation with Europe.
Last week, Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said Brussels’ policy of redistributing migrants from Italy and Greece to other EU nations is making the migrant crisis worse and encouraging more people to make the journey.
“I tell my counterparts in Western Europe that the relocation strategy only intensifies [illegal migration] because traffickers get even more custom when [would-be migrants] hear that people delivered to Europe are being given refuge in EU nations other than Italy and Greece.
“It risks the lives of people who are trying to reach Europe [on boats],” he added.