EU to tighten border security as migrant arrivals rise
The European Union on Wednesday called on member states to tighten border security as the number of migrants arriving in Europe have increased recently.
"While still drastically lower than before the EU-Turkey Statement, arrivals from Turkey have seen a significant increase since March 2018 both to the Greek islands (9,349 since the beginning of 2018) and via the land border (6,108 so far in 2018-nine times more than during the same period in 2017)," the European Commission said in a statement.
"Increased movements through Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been reported in recent months," the statement read.
In March 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal aiming to stem the irregular migration flow through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
After the EU-Turkey deal, the refugee death toll in the Aegean region dropped from 805 in 2015 to 434 in 2016 and to 61 in 2017, with 19 deaths so far in 2018, according to UN figures.
The commission said that member states "must urgently step up their deployment if the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to "sustain ongoing operations or be in a position to engage in new ones."
The EU's Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "In the last years, important progress has been made both within the EU and with our partner countries. However, the situation is still fragile and our work is far from over."
"This is why I call on Member States to urgently send border guards and equipment for the European Border and Coast Guard operations, but also to follow through on their commitment to reach an agreement on our asylum reform in June," Avramopoulos added.