Combatting migrant smuggling into the EU

23-04-2016

It is estimated that most of those who are currently entering the EU to seek asylum have had some help from smugglers in facilitating their journeys. Increased human smuggling in particular, when interlinked with criminal networks, poses serious threats to those smuggled as well as to EU Member States. The available evidence shows that there are considerable differences in how individual Member States tackle and penalise smuggling and that closer cooperation is needed to deal with this issue effectively. The existing discrepancies are partially linked to differences in the implementation of current European legislation, i.e. 'the facilitators package', which reacts to facilitation of the irregular entry, irregular transit and irregular stay of migrants into individual Member States. Furthermore, there are noticeable differences in national legislation with regard to whether providing humanitarian assistance to migrants is penalised or not. Smuggling is a complex issue and the modus operandi of smugglers is often very flexible and changes frequently. It is therefore important to tackle smuggling from a holistic perspective and also consider what unintended consequences may arise from policies intended to stop smuggling. Parliament has called for such an approach on several occasions. It is to be seen to what extent the European Commission evaluation of the respective European legislation and the potential legislative proposals will react to these challenges.  Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

It is estimated that most of those who are currently entering the EU to seek asylum have had some help from smugglers in facilitating their journeys. Increased human smuggling in particular, when interlinked with criminal networks, poses serious threats to those smuggled as well as to EU Member States. The available evidence shows that there are considerable differences in how individual Member States tackle and penalise smuggling and that closer cooperation is needed to deal with this issue effectively. The existing discrepancies are partially linked to differences in the implementation of current European legislation, i.e. 'the facilitators package', which reacts to facilitation of the irregular entry, irregular transit and irregular stay of migrants into individual Member States. Furthermore, there are noticeable differences in national legislation with regard to whether providing humanitarian assistance to migrants is penalised or not. Smuggling is a complex issue and the modus operandi of smugglers is often very flexible and changes frequently. It is therefore important to tackle smuggling from a holistic perspective and also consider what unintended consequences may arise from policies intended to stop smuggling. Parliament has called for such an approach on several occasions. It is to be seen to what extent the European Commission evaluation of the respective European legislation and the potential legislative proposals will react to these challenges.  Please click here for the full publication in PDF format