800,000 illegal entries into EU in 2015: Border agency
The European Union’s border protection agency, Frontex, says there has been around 800,000 “illegal entries” into the bloc so far this year.
Fabrice Leggeri, head of the agency, reported the figure and warned that the refugee influx had probably not yet “reached its peak,” AFP reported on Wednesday.
The official also called for European states to detain unsuccessful asylum seekers, so they can be “rapidly” sent back to their countries of origin.
The continent is facing its biggest refugee flow since World War II.
Thousands of refugees, many of whom come from war-ravaged Syria, travel from Turkey to Greece by boat. They then transit from Greece through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia to Austria, with the ultimate goal of reaching Germany and other wealthy western European states.
Hungary closed its border to asylum seekers in September, prompting large numbers of them to pass through Slovenia, the smallest of the countries on the course.
EUR 2.3 billion (USD 2.5 billion) has been pledged by European governments to help Syrian refugees and discourage African citizens from traveling to Europe.
Most lately, Greece and Italy, other main points of arrival in the EU, have been tasked with setting up what has come to be known as “hotspots” to register and fingerprint arrivals and send back so-called economic refugees.
The countries are expected to have fully-operational hotspots by the end of November, a goal which EU President Donald Tusk has described as “ambitious” and said would need a significant acceleration of manpower and assets to Frontex and the EU’s Asylum Support Office (EASO).