Mixed flows of irregular migrants, asylum seekers and refugees have been high on the political agenda of many member states of the Council of Europe.
However, as soon as one route is plugged a new route is opened up, notwithstanding the efforts of states, the European Union and its border agency FRONTEX. Routes are now moving eastwards with pressure beginning to show on the countries lining the borders to the east of the European Union. Turkey, the Russian Federation, Ukraine may be the largest countries concerned, but the smaller countries are also facing challenges, including states such as Croatia, Serbia and Moldova.
Many of these countries have little experience of dealing with asylum claims and have imperfect asylum systems. Many are ill equipped to detain irregular migrants and asylum seekers, yet nonetheless do so, sometimes under pressure from the European Union and its member states. Worrying reports are coming out from an increasing number of NGOs, and others, about detention conditions, failures in the asylum process and procedures of return to and from these countries.
The Parliamentary Assembly has in the past focused its attention on Southern Europe. It is now necessary to examine problems in the East and propose solutions.
Flows will only increase in the future and pressure will rise on these countries. The Parliamentary Assembly needs to ensure that these member states are able to deal with these mixed migratory flows and deal with the particular needs of asylum seekers and refugees, respecting fully the rights of those involved.