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Report Slams EU's Failure to Foresee 'Colossal' Migrant Crisis

© AP PhotoOfficers of the Irish Navy ship Le Eithne rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.
Officers of the Irish Navy ship Le Eithne rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. - Sputnik International
A new report from the UK House of Commons has severely criticized the EU for its failure to anticipate and tackle 'colossal' migration crisis and that it has done "too little, too late" with the failing EU-Turkey migrant deal being only a "partial solution".

The report by the Home Affairs Committee says it is estimated that in the first six months of 2016 a staggering 227,316 migrants had entered Europe by sea, arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain, with Libya as the main departure point, followed by Egypt. Nearly 3,000 of these are thought to have died in the attempt.

A rusty chain hangs in front of the quay of the small Luxembourg village of Schengen at the banks of the river Moselle January 27, 2016. - Sputnik International
EU Commission Proposes Extension of Border Controls in Five Schengen States

The MPs concludes that members of the Schengen area's failure to agree on control of external borders is greatly exacerbating the crisis: some Member States have implemented their own passport controls within the Schengen area, in breach of the Schengen principles and "no doubt due to a lack of faith in the integrity of the external Schengen border."

It is not acceptable for EU Member States to leave these essential tasks to the countries most affected, including Italy, Greece and Turkey".

It says the EU and its Member States failed to anticipate the scale of migrant flows, and did not have the structures and mechanisms in place to cope. As a result, the EU has been too slow to respond in a coordinated way.

"The EU's March 2016 agreement with Turkey on return of migrants is arguably a first step towards a meaningful response but it has come far too late and is itself highly controversial for a number of reasons," the report says.

As part of the deal, "irregular" migrants — those refused asylum in Greece — are relocated back to Turkey, in return — on a one-for-one basis — for Syrian refugees being relocated to EU member states. The deal includes the acceleration of Turkish accession into the EU and visa-free access for its citizens into the Schengen zone.

​There had already been concerns expressed — by the UN refugee agency UNHCR and many NGOs — over Turkey's human rights record, with many saying Turkey is not a "safe third country" under the terms of the Geneva Convention. Many believe the refugee camps in Turkey do not meet basic human rights standards.

'The Disapperared Ones'

Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said: "Europe's efforts to address this colossal refugee crisis has been lamentable."

"The atrocious conditions in migrant camps within and on the borders of the richest countries on earth is a source of shame. It is horrifying that large numbers of the 85,000 unaccompanied children already in the EU have gone missing shortly after arrival, facing abuse and exploitation. They have become the EU's 'disappeared ones'."

​"Naval deployments in the Mediterranean have saved lives, but they have failed in their twin tasks of deterring migrant flows and disrupting and destroying criminal smuggling networks. The EU's response in combating people traffickers who are exploiting, exacerbating and profiting from this crisis has been poor. These criminal gangs are the only winners. Libya is the main point of departure in the Mediterranean, with a reported half a million people waiting to cross, and the EU should focus on this in the same way as it has done with Turkey," he said.

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