Migration pressure on EU from Middle East and Africa expected to grow after coronavirus movement restrictions lifted


The European Union will find itself under renewed migration pressure as coronavirus movement restrictions are lifted and people smuggling on the Balkans route is expected to rise anew, the Vienna-based International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) said in its latest update.


The report, compiled by Martin Hofmann, warns that by autumn, the number of migrants seeking to enter the EU will again have reached the levels of the previous year when there was a surge in migrants from Venezuela and Columbia, who submitted asylum requests in various EU member states. The surge from the two South American countries was due to growing social and political problems in those countries and the fact that their citizens did not require visas to travel to Spain before the movement restrictions.


The ICMPD report also stated that the negative economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic could also be a contributing factor in the rise of migration, as more people will be left in untenable economic conditions and even many members of the well-schooled middle classes of Africa and the Middle East may try their luck by attempting to reach the EU.


Morocco and Libya will probably take center stage, while people smuggling on the Balkans route — a lucrative proposition for organized crime groups — may surge again.


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