Fear of militants hiding among refugees comes as a six-fold rise in border crossings puts authorities under pressure
The EU’s border force has warned that "terrorists" may have entered Europe by hiding among asylum seekers as the number of illegal border crossings increased by six-fold in 2015 from the previous year.
Frontex’s annual risk analysis, released on Tuesday, highlighted that two men involved in the Paris attacks last November arrived in Europe on a smuggling boat which “clearly demonstrated that irregular migratory flows could be used by terrorists to enter the EU”.
The men presented false Syrian documents “to speed up their registration process,” Frontex said, noting that as the majority of people arrive without documents “screening activities are essential”.
Frontex's emphasis on the need for screening activities comes as border authorities find themselves under “intense pressure” as result of the increased influx of migrants and refugees along the EU’s external border, said the report.
A record of 1.82 million illegal crossings - more than six times the number in 2014 which was a record year - were detected over the year as an estimated million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe.
Many of those coming in were counted for the first time when they arrived in Greece and were later counted again when crossing EU's borders in the Western Balkans.
Over the past year, Greece and Italy have borne the brunt of the increased flow of people as the two main entry points into Europe, but for several other EU countries including those in the Balkans, the increase revealed “the complexity of the challenge to manage large flows,” Frontex said.
Border authorities are “neither adequately equipped, nor trained” to deal with an upsurge in violent incidents that has accompanied the increase in illegal border crossings, including several mass breakout attempts over the year as large numbers of people tried to cross borders by force.