Terrorists are using the migration crisis to enter Europe and plot atrocities across the continent, the European Union’s own border agency has admitted.
In a report which lays bare the concerns about the EU’s porous borders, Frontex conceded that it does not know the true number of migrants who have crossed into the continent and has no way of tracking them.
Frontex said that EU member states had reported a record 1.82 million illegal border crossings last year, six times higher than the previous record set in 2014.
However, it admitted that the number of illegal crossings is an underestimation because so many migrants have “continued their journey without being detected”.
It warned that a “staggering number” of EU citizens have travelled to Syria to fight with Isil and that they are now posing as refugees to gain entry to Europe.
The border agency’s shock admission will increase fears that the EU is unable to track potential terrorists like those who committed the atrocities in Paris and Brussels.
It also undermines claims made by supporters of the EU, who say that Britain is safer as a member of the bloc.
“The Paris attacks in November 2015 clearly demonstrated that irregular migratory flows could be used by terrorists to enter the EU,” Frontex said in its report.
“With no thorough check or penalties in place for those making such false declarations, there is a risk that some persons representing a security threat to the EU may be taking advantage of this situation.”
Two of the islamists involved in the Paris attacks had entered through the Greek island of Leros and had been registered by the Greek authorities after presenting fraudulent Syrian documents.
The Eastern Mediterranean route, especially the Greek islands in the Aegean, accounted for the largest number of detections–nearly 885,400, the report found.
In a damning assessment of the EU’s ability to police its borders, the report said: “There is no EU system capable of tracing people’s movements following an illegal border-crossing. Therefore it is not possible to establish the precise number of persons who have illegally crossed two sections of the external borders of the EU.”
Frontex added that it is “difficult for [EU] member states to ensure an efficient, high and uniform level of control at their external border”.
“It was not possible to detect many migrants during their crossing…it is likely that an unknown proportion actually crossed and continued their journey without being detected,” the report added.
It another blow, foreign criminals may avoid being deported from the UK because overcrowded prisons back home could breach their human rights after a damning European court ruling.
The European Court of Justice has left the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system in disarray after judges said suspects should not be returned under it if there is a risk they face inhuman or degrading treatment.
It raises the prospect that detainees can argue that conditions in overcrowded jails will breach their rights.
The ruling was last night seized upon by those arguing for the UK to leave the EU who said it makes a mockery of claims by the stay campaigners that Britain will be worse off by not being part of the EAW scheme.
However, the Government did receive a boost on Tuesday after the European Commission abandoned proposals to stop Britain deporting illegal migrants following David Cameron’s refusal to accept quotas of refugees.
Government sources said that they have now persuaded the Commission, which is run by Jean-Claude Juncker, not to tear up the Dublin Regulations, which allow the UK to deport thousands of illegal immigrants.
The European Commission had threatened to scrap the legislation after Britain said it would not take quotas of migrants as part of an EU bid lessen the impact of the migration crisis.