The flow of migrants from Libya to Turkey has hit unprecedented rates even as immigration officials have dramatically reduced the flow from Turkey into Greece, the head of the EU’s border agency told AFP.
The new route, which involves crossing the Mediterranean Sea, is thanks to a 2016 deal between the EU and Turkey that beefed up security there.
“80 or 100 people … arrive every day” on the shores of Greece, Frontex leader Fabrice Leggeri told AFP, “Whereas we had 2,500 a day” before the 2016 deal.
Due to the increase in crime that has correlated with the arrival of the migrants, the European Union has taken further measures to secure sovereign borders to stem the steady emigration of migrants and refugees. The EU’s border agency Frontex has seen increased funding and an increase in personnel to address the growing problem.
Those coming from Africa arriving through the Libya—Italy Mediterranean channel are up 40 percent from 2016. Frontex believes most individuals are coming from West African states, such as Senegal, Guinea and Nigeria in order to escape impecunious economic conditions.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least a million people migrated to Europe in 2015. Eighty-five percent took the Greco Turkish route via the Aegean Sea. Half of the migrants originated from war-torn Syria, and most of the remainder came from Afghanistan and Iraq.
As migration numbers from the Middle East began to fall, new migrants from North Africa began to rise. By mid-April of 2017 Frontex noted, “some 36,000 migrants had arrived in Italy since the beginning of the year, an increase of 43 percent over the same period last year.”