European Union Audit Admits ‘Inefficient’ Deportation System is Fuelling Illegal Immigration

Around 500 migrants, from a group of 1334 rescued from different boats, wait for being transferred to Red Cross' emergency accommodations from the port of Arguineguin where they are cared for by the Spanish Red Cross and the National Police, in Mogan on the Spanish Canary island of Gran Canaria …
DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images

The European Union’s failure to enact an effective deportation system has led to increased illegal immigrantion, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) found.

A report from the ECA on Monday found that inefficiencies within the EU’s immigration system have encouraged more illegal immigration, despite the stated intention of deterring migrants.

The report found that on average around 500,000 illegal immigrants have been ordered to leave the bloc per year since 2008. However, the failures to actually enforce the deportations have resulted in only 29 per cent were actually removed from the bloc.

The number falls even lower when attempting to deport migrants to countries outside of the European continent, with only 19 per cent being deported. The report said that while the EU has attempted to engage with third countries to come to agreements on the return of migrants, the bloc’s efforts have “yielded limited results”.

The ECA said: “Limited progress has been made at EU level to create structural incentives for third countries to implement their readmission obligations.”

The report said that “most progress” came in the area of visa policy, with the EU threatening to suspend visas in countries such as Iraq in order to convince the government to accept the return of its migrants.

The chief auditor of the report, Leo Brincat said on Monday that “effective” deportations must be an “essential part of a comprehensive migratory policy”.

“Nevertheless, the current EU returns system suffers greatly from inefficiencies that lead to the opposite of the intended effect: encouraging, rather than discouraging, illegal migration,” he said.

The report comes as Europe is bracing for a possible second migrant crisis, with many fearing a repeat of 2015 when over one million migrants flooded into Europe after German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the gates of migration amid the Syrian civil war.

Last week, the director-general of the EU’s border agency Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri said they are making preparations for a new migration wave following the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban after President Joe Biden’s mishandled withdrawal of American forces from the country.

“Our expectation is that depending on what’s going on in Afghanistan of course people in need of international protection might try to flee from Afghanistan. But what will very likely happen first is that the Afghan communities living abroad might try to move to the European Union,” Leggeri said.

Following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, a humanitarian worker with decades of experience in Afghanistan warned that as many as three million people may try to enter Europe, more than double the number that came in the previous migrant crisis.

Countries on the eastern edge of the bloc have been erecting border walls in order to stem the tide of migrants, including Poland, Lithuania, and Greece.

On Sunday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis vowed to “break and smash” the human trafficking rings responsible for transporting migrants into his country from neighbouring Turkey.

Mitsotakis said that he does not expect a new migrant crisis, touting the security reforms enacted over the past year.

“Our aim is to stop any wave long before it reaches our borders. In that, our interests and Turkey’s are aligned,” he said.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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