The EU and Migration
The 2010 Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (European Commission 2011) has counted at 570000 the number of irregularly staying third country nationals apprehended in the EU in 2009, while 394000 persons were refused entry in 2010 (European Migration Network 2011). As for asylum, 257815 applications have been recorded in Member States in 2010, a decreasing number with respect to previous years (UNHCR 2011). The relevance that migration as an issue area is progressively assuming in the European Union’s agenda has been recently further underlined by the events occurred in North Africa and the Middle East. The latest report delivered by the FRONTEX Risk Analysis Network (FRAN) has shown that the focus on irregular immigration at the EU’s external border has been recently shifting from the East to the Central Mediterranean, with a remarkable increase in detection of illegal border crossing in the first quarter of 2011 with respect to previous figures (FRAN Quarterly 2011). The European response to the uprisings in the region has been quite fragmented and uncoordinated. The EU was called to demonstrate its external security actorness, showing resolve and playing its role as a ‘model’ supporting democratic transitions. Also, and with a view to the mounting flows of people trying their way to Europe, it was called to show internal coordination and solidarity in accordance to its commitment to a common migration and asylum policy. Alas, the European Union has fallen short of expectations.