Numbers of migrants and refugees have been streaming into European countries, hoping to obtain asylum,from West Asia, Africa and Central Asia by crossing the Mediterranean sea or via southeast Europe.
The wave was started during 2007 – 2011, the highest being in2011, as thousands of Tunisians started to arrive at the Italian island of Lampedusa following the onset of the Arab Spring.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as of October 2015, 75% of the over half a million Mediterranean Sea arrivals since the beginning of the year are refugees coming from Syria (55%), Afghanistan (14%) and Eritrea (6%).
Reasons for Migration:
• Syrians tried to flee their country's four-and-a-half-year-old civil war, Afghans looked to escape the ongoing war with Taliban rebels and Eritreans fled the forced labor.
• Deteriorating security and grinding poverty in Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan have also contributed to the migrant influx.
• Instability and the second civil war in Libya have made departures easier from the north-African country, with no central authority controlling Libya’s ports and dealing with European countries, and migrant smuggling networks flourishing.
EU members hardest hit:
• Greece:By July 2015, Greece had once again become the preferred Mediterranean entry point, with Frontex reporting 132,240 illegal EU border crossings for the first half of 2015, five times the number detected for the same period last year.
• Italy: The Central Mediterranean passage connecting Libya to Italy was the most trafficked route for Europe-bound migrants. In April 2015, EU leaders tripled the budget for Frontex's Triton border patrol program to 9 million Euros a month.
While the number of illegal border crossings into Italy for the first half of 2015 remained high at 91,302, the rising death tolland the deteriorating security situation in Libya have pushed many migrants to seek out alternate paths to Europe through Greece and the Balkans
• Hungary: Syrians and Afghans traveling from Turkey and Greece through Macedonia and Serbia have made this EU member state the latest target.From January to July 2015, Frontex reported 102,342 illegal crossings into Hungary. So Hungary erected a barbed-wire fence on the border with Serbia in July 2015.
Reasons for increment of migration in summer 2015:
• In mid-June 2015 the government of Macedonia announced that it was changing its policy on migrants enteringthe country illegally. Previously, migrants were forbidden from transiting Macedonia, causing those who chose to do so to take perilous modes of transit, like walking along railroad tracks at night. Beginning in June, migrants were given three-day, temporary asylum permits, enabling them to travel by train and road.
• The opening of the Macedonia route enabled migrants from the Middle East to take very short, inexpensive voyages
• German Chancellor Angela Merkel's public assurance that Germany offered temporary residency to refugees combined with television footage of Germans welcoming refugees persuaded large numbers of people to migrate.
• The Syrian government announced increased military conscription, and simultaneously made it easier for Syrians to obtain passports, leading Middle East policy experts to speculate that it
Implications of the migration in near future:
• Food insecurity on global level.
• Unemployment of indigenous inhabitants.
• Law and order complications in target countries.
• Difficulty in providing shelter and basic healthcare facilities.
• As an immediate solution, there should be a planned and effective burden sharing among the European countries based on the quota system. The global powers can provide enough financial and other assistance to Middle Eastern countries like Turkey,Lebanon, and Jordan which are hosting a substantial number of refugees.
• Most importantly, to hit at the root of the crisis – by restoring peace and recreating livelihood opportunities in the conflict hit countries.
• The powerful nations must contribute positively to promote democracy and stabilize political turmoil in the war-hit countries.