The European Union border agency Frontex has warned that a new wave of mass migration could be coming to Europe via the eastern and western Mediterranean, calling for transnational cooperation to stop it.
The comments came at a meeting in Lower Austria in which Frontex’s Deputy Executive Director Berndt Körner claimed that the number of migrants was rising significantly both in the eastern part of the Mediterranean into Greece and in the west from North Africa, Kronen Zeitung reports.
Mr Körner noted that around 14,000 individuals were flown back to their home countries from EU states in 2017 in 341 flights and that many of them would be looking to return to Europe through Turkey and into Greece.
While the number of migrants entering most EU countries has greatly declined since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, there have been signs of growth in recent weeks with Germany seeing 78,000 asylum applications in May – up 14,000 from the month before.
In Greece, the mayor of Orestiada, which lies near the land border with Turkey, complained that the area was being overrun with migrants in April. Mayor Dimitris Mavrides said: “Our reception facilities are overwhelmed and things are on the verge of spinning out of control. Far more are coming than are actually being registered.”
Croatia Warns 60,000 Migrants Ready to Break Through into European Union https://t.co/4PEoPl623t
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“They are coming precisely because it is not part of the deal and because word has got out… If they get here and are processed, they are free to go anywhere on the mainland. We have four buses a day to Athens and Thessaloniki and they are full,” he added.
Balkan countries like Croatia are also voicing concern over a new wave of migration, warning in May that up to 60,000 migrants were ready to break through into the European Union, charting a new migration route through Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Croatia.
Prime Minister of Montenegro Dusko Markovic said that “Shifting migration routes is alarming and cause for concern,” highlighting the risks to “rule of law” and an increase in “corruption and terrorism risks”.
Last week Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced he would be forming an “Axis of the Willing” alongside German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and Italian populist leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to strengthen the EU’s external border and fight illegal immigration.