Migration Poses New Challenges for EU

Record-breaking numbers of migrants arrived in Europe in 2023, and migration pressure is not expected to ease in 2024 either, according to an analysis by the Migration Research Institute. The report says the rise is due to persistent security instability and economic difficulties in the main sending regions. With the EU's migration pact still a long way from becoming law, governments are increasingly looking to national powers to fight illegal immigration.

2024. 01. 11. 16:43
20211215 roszke hatar migrans MIGRANS ARCAT KI KELL TAKARNI cson Fotó: Havran Zoltán
Vélemény hírlevélJobban mondva- heti vélemény hírlevél - ahol a hét kiemelt témáihoz füzött személyes gondolatok összeérnek, részletek itt.

Migration poses new challenges for the European Union, according to the Migration Research Institute's fresh analysis sent to Magyar Nemzet. Last year, illegal migrant arrivals in Europe broke records: by the end of November 2023, Frontex had registered a total of 355,300 illegal entries at the external borders of the European Union, that's more than at any time since 2016.  

migráció, migráns, kerítés, szerb-magyar határ
Several EU countries are demanding joint action in the face of growing migration pressure (Photo: Arpad Kurucz)

The deteriorating security situation in the Sahel region and the economic difficulties in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia have led to almost one million third-country nationals applying for asylum in the European Union, the report explains.

Migration situation not improving

Germany , leads the pack with the greatest number of claims processed here, while France came in second and Italy third. Syrians made up the largest group of illegal entrants, followed by Afghans, Venezuelans, Turks, Colombians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. 

The largest arrival rate increase was from the Sahel region. 

The analysis also reveals that: 

  • the most frequented route remains through the central Mediterranean, where authorities reported more than 152 200 sightings up to and including November. 
  • traffic on the Eastern Mediterranean route increased by fifty percent with 52 600 illegal border crossings. 
  • the largest rate of increase was recorded on the West African route, where the number of attempts doubled to 32 400. 
  • the number of illegal border crossings on the Western Balkan route has decreased by 28%, but even so, 98 600 cases were registered. 
  • 58 300 people tried to cross the Channel to Britain.

The situation in emitting countries is not improving, so migration pressures are expected to continue increasing in 2024, according to the researchers. Their forecast explains that the security situation is deteriorating in several sub-Saharan African countries, and in the non-oil producing, traditionally migrant-sending Middle East and North African countries, no solution to the economic difficulties faced by young people are appearing on the horizon.

What's in store at the Hungarian border?

Although movement here is down compared to the record year of 2022, the Western Balkans remained the busiest land route for migrants to the European Union in 2023, as well. Serbian authorities reported 10 armed clashes between Moroccan and Afghan people smuggling groups in 2023. 

Serbian police cracked down on the clashes in several operations, which led to a significant decrease in the number of illegal border crossing attempts in southern Hungary by the end of the year. 

Bulgaria became the main Balkan country of entry for migrants after the spring of 2023. According to Bulgarian border police, 176,000 illegal border crossing attempts were prevented last year. There was also an increase in traffic towards Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the months following Croatia's accession to the Schengen Area, the number of migrants entering the country increased by eight hundred percent.
According to the Migration Research Institute,

the European Union is expected to take even stronger action in 2024 than before against illegal migration through the Western Balkans. 

Frontex has already concluded operational agreements with Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro, and negotiations are ongoing with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Austria is calling for the reinforcement of external borders and the readmission of Afghan and Syrian asylum seekers in exchange for supporting Bulgaria's (and Romania's) Schengen membership. The institute believes that it is questionable how long the political will for Serbia to maintain operations on the Hungarian-Serbian border will last.


Tightening measures everywhere

Mounting migratory pressure is leading many EU countries to press for joint action. Last year, the European Council approved the EU's new pact on migration. The intention is to adopt the pact during this parliamentary term, but it will only become binding legislation once it is published in the EU’s official journal.

At the moment, however, it is unclear when the regulations outlined in the pact will enter into force in their finalized form, as a number of legislative acts are yet to precede their enactment. The proposal may be amended by the European Parliament, and will then go back to the European Council and then again to the Parliament. In the so-called first reading procedure, no deadline is set for the European Parliament or the European Council, thus negotiations can become protracted.

If the regulations are not adopted by the end of the Belgian council presidency in July, their adoption is unlikely during Hungary's  six-month presidency that follows.

The researchers believe that, in theory, the pact could even get rejected altogether. If a legislative proposal is rejected at any stage of the procedure or if the European Council and the European Parliament cannot reach a compromise, the procedure comes to an end. However, a new procedure can only be launched on the basis of a new proposal from the European Commission.

Mainstream political parties in Germany, the Netherlands, France and elsewhere have adopted many elements from the narrative promoted by anti-immigration forces and their implementation is underway.

The new year is likely to see even tougher laws than before, according to the analysis. Given the uncertainty of joint European action and migration being a high-stakes political issue in the upcoming European Parliament elections, the countries most affected by illegal migration are striving to tackle the problem within national competence. This trend is expected to continue in 2024, according to the Migration Research Institute.

Cover photo: Illustration (Photo: Zoltan Havran)


A téma legfrissebb hírei

Tovább az összes cikkhez chevron-right

Ne maradjon le a Magyar Nemzet legjobb írásairól, olvassa őket minden nap!

Címoldalról ajánljuk

Tovább az összes cikkhez chevron-right

Portfóliónk minőségi tartalmat jelent minden olvasó számára. Egyedülálló elérést, országos lefedettséget és változatos megjelenési lehetőséget biztosít. Folyamatosan keressük az új irányokat és fejlődési lehetőségeket. Ez jövőnk záloga.