Italy and Greece have failed to properly log and register around two-thirds of the irregular, illegal, and asylum seeker migrants pouring over their borders, the Dutch have claimed.
The systematic shortfalls have undermined the European Union’s (EU) open borders Schengen system and acted as a massive pull factor, the Netherlands migration minister, Mark Harbers, has said.
In a letter seen by The Times, he questioned the claim of the European Commission that “the registration and fingerprinting of migrants arriving in Greece and Italy has reached a rate of almost 100 per cent”.
“Ninety-five per cent of irregular migrants and asylum seekers arrive from other Schengen states,” he wrote.
“Only one third have been registered previously. This means about two thirds still manage to enter and travel through other member states undetected and unregistered, despite all measures taken to improve registration.”
Mediterranean Migrant Route Numbers Rapidly Increasing https://t.co/5GIsD2B2o1
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The failure to register such migrants, who go on to claim asylum in other nations, has left the Netherlands unable to follow the EU’s Dublin agreement rules and return them to the country via which they first entered Europe.
“The Netherlands ends up granting protection to large numbers of asylum seekers who consciously refuse to apply for protection in the member state of first arrival,” Mr. Harbers added.
“Giving asylum seekers this de facto choice of which member state they want to settle in is in itself a pull factor.”
Last week, it was reported that Greece is once again being “overwhelmed” by migrants surging across its land border with Turkey, in scenes compared to the height of the 2015 migrant crisis.
The country bore the brunt of the 2015 influx, which saw over 815,000 illegal migrants cross the Aegean Sea in boats.
The number of illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Italy has also recently doubled in the space of a month. In January, more than 4,800 made the journey, double the figure from the previous month of December in 2017.