In recent years the European Union (EU) has increasingly focused its asylum and migration policies on combating irregular entries.
Visas requirements for nationals coming from refugee producing areas have become more and more strict, while carriers are heavily sanctioned for carrying undocumented passengers. Individuals fleeing persecution have no more means of legally travelling to the EU than any other category of person. This often means people take life-threatening risks in a desperate attempt to reach protection in Europe.
Instead of facilitating legal ways for refugees to travel safely, the EU increasingly expects its neighbours to prevent people from reaching its borders, leaving many in a state of limbo. While the EU has the right to control its borders, its security imperatives should not override the human rights commitments which are funding principles of the EU.
In 2004, the EU created a European Border Management Agency (FRONTEX). This agency coordinates joint operations amongst EU Member States and is increasingly working with non-EU countries to stop people travelling in an irregular manner from reaching the EU. This often includes persons fleeing persecution, however there is no evidence that FRONTEX operations identify such persons.