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EU sees '1.3 million' illegal border crossings

December 14, 2015

German newspaper 'Die Welt' has published EU figures showing 1.28 million illegal border crossings in 2015. European leaders have come under pressure to do more to secure the EU's external borders.

Macedonian border fence
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/N. Batev

Between January and November this year, 1.28 million illegal border crossings were detected, the Germany daily "Die Welt" reported on Monday.

Citing figures from the European Commission, the paper said illegal immigration had reached an all-time high in the 28 member bloc over the past 11 months.

The latest tally compares to 813,000 illegal crossings registered between 2009 and 2014, it added, and follows a months-long migration crisis that has seen refugees from the Middle East and Africa arrive in southern EU states before heading to more prosperous northern countries to attempt to settle.

Record numbers

The data is included in a report the European Commission is due to publish on Tuesday, the paper said, calling for more effective plans for the management of the EU's external borders.

The report takes aim at the bloc's current border strategy, saying it had "proven to be totally insufficient in achieving an effective and integrated securing of the frontiers."

Hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants have been able to cross into the EU illegally without being identified, registered and security screened, it said.

The Commission said the future of the Schengen zone, where passport controls have been abolished at the EU's internal borders, was under threat due to the ongoing crisis.

The document calls urgently for EU leaders to address the issue to ensure "a strong and common policy to secure the external borders, based on the principle of common, shared responsibility."

Brussels has already proposed a new EU border force and coastguard.

Future not certain

Meanwhile, the newspaper "Bild" quoted figures suggesting that, by 2017, the migrant influx would add around 376,000 to the number of people registered as unemployed in Germany.

Citing research by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IFW), it reports that just two percent - or around 94,000 refugees - are likely to find a full-time job.

IFW predicts that Germany will receive around 1.1 million refugees in 2015, along with a further 1 million in 2016 and 2017.

Refugees: How will they change Germany?

Of these, around 600,000 are likely to achieve asylum seeker status and be allowed to remain in the country. Although 470,000 will be of working age, most will struggle to find permanent employment, the institute predicts.

Recently, a study predicted that the refugees would cost Germany up to 55 billion euros annually.

mm/gsw (dpa, Reuters, KNA)