Think Tank Predicts Surge in Illegal Migration into EU in 2024 Despite Political Promises
Brussels, January 19, 2024
A think tank has forecasted a rise in illegal migration into the European Union in 2024, challenging political promises of cracking down on such activities. The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) predicts that illegal migration will be a significant factor in upcoming elections, particularly the EU Parliament election in June.
This projection comes on the heels of a report from the Frontex European Border and Coast Guard Agency, revealing that recorded illegal migration into the EU reached its highest level since the 2016 Migrant Crisis, with an estimated 380,000 illegal crossings recorded in 2023. Additionally, EU asylum claims rose by 21.2% to one million applications last year, the highest level since 2016.
The ICMPD suggests that the expected surge in illegal immigration into the EU may be driven by migrants seeking to enter European countries, including the UK, before anticipated restrictions on migratory flows are implemented. The phenomenon is referred to as the "closed-shop effect," wherein individuals perceive a window of opportunity before stricter measures take effect.
ICMPD Director General Michael Spindelegger stated, "People will hear all these measures on migration announced in election campaigns and will think they have to be here [in the EU] before they come into force."
The think tank also anticipates that the possibility of Donald Trump assuming office in the United States, with his promises to crack down on illegal border crossings, may lead migrants from countries like Venezuela and Colombia to exploit visa-free tourism in Spain to move to Europe rather than the United States.
The ongoing flows of illegal migration into Europe are expected to become a central issue in the EU Parliament election in June, involving over 450 million citizens. The growing consensus on the need to address mass migration has emerged in the wake of recent Islamist terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris, as well as an increase in anti-Semitic sentiments in Germany.
Populist parties, particularly those with anti-mass migration agendas, have gained momentum in several European countries. The ICMPD's prediction aligns with the broader global trend of addressing immigration concerns to counter the rise of populist parties. Leaders like President Emmanuel Macron in France and Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Germany have taken steps to enhance deportations and limit social service benefits to foreigners. However, the effectiveness of these measures in appeasing disaffected native populations remains uncertain, as evidenced by the rise of populist parties in Germany and other European nations.