Data released by the European Union border agency Frontex has revealed that as the Wuhan coronavirus lockdown measures ease across Europe, the number of migrant arrivals has begun to surge.
Frontex data from May states that there were at least 4,300 illegal arrivals, triple the number of arrivals from the same period last year with the total number of illegal immigrants entering the EU’s borders reaching 12,700 since the start of 2020.
Greece has seen a huge surge in May with 1,250 new arrivals, eight times more than April when coronavirus lockdowns were in full force in Greece and in neighbouring Turkey where most illegal migrants entering Greece originate, Il Giornale reports.
Fabrice Leggeri commented on Turkey’s attitude in the region, which saw a shift in February when the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the borders to Greece for any and all migrants in Turkey.
“In recent months, Turkish border police have opened fire on Greece on at least five occasions, but none have been injured,” Leggeri said. He added that if Turkey repeated the opening of the gates as they had done earlier in the year, Frontex would rapidly increase its presence on the Greek border.
Italian Intelligence Sounds Alarm on 20,000 Strong Migrant Wave https://t.co/e0BJm4lzo8
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Currently, there are around 600 officers posted on the land border between Greece and Turkey and the various islands in the Aegean. Those numbers could increase to 1,500 if the situation deteriorates once again.
The Balkan migrant route has also seen a surge of activity with 900 crossings in May, ten times the number of the previous month.
“Many are originally from Pakistan, crossing Turkey, Croatia, and Slovenia without finding any obstacles, and we find them here. They know that in Italy there is a more tolerant policy,” Trieste mayor Roberto Di Piazza said.
Italian authorities have previously slammed Slovenia for not doing enough to stop illegals from crossing into Italy.
Edoardo Alessio, Provincial Secretary-General of the Italian State Police, spoke out about the issue in May, saying: “Slovenia does not stop them, does not identify them, and lets them pass with impunity.”
The Frontex data comes as Italian intelligence officials recently warned at least 20,000 migrants were ready to head for Italy.