Potential terrorists are exploiting the migrant crisis to travel unchecked through Europe, the EU’s border agency has warned.
Frontex said a “large number” of people arriving mainly in Greece and Italy with false documents are not facing thorough checks or penalties.
It said the Paris attacks last November demonstrate irregular migration patterns that could be used by terrorists to reach the EU.
It also warned that radicalised EU citizens returning from the Syria conflict are taking advantage of the poor quality checks to easily return home.
The findings published by Frontex have been seized upon by Brexit campaigners, including justice minister Dominic Raab who claimed the EU’s free movement rules leave Britain “wide open” to crime and terrorism.
The report also revealed more than 1.8m illegal border crossings were detected by EU member states in 2015, six times the number reported in 2014.
The agency said the never-seen-before figure is associated with the estimated one million individuals who reached the EU last year, but suggests many crossed two sections of the external borders of the EU.
The report said: “The Paris attacks in November 2015 clearly demonstrated that irregular migratory flows could be used by terrorists to enter the EU.
“Two of the terrorists involved in the attacks had previously irregularly entered through Leros and had been registered by the Greek authorities. They presented fraudulent Syrian documents to speed up their registration process.
“As the vast majority of migrants arrive undocumented, screening activities are essential to properly verify their declaration of nationality.
“With a large number of persons arriving with false or no identification documents or raising concerns over the validity of their claimed nationality — 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.”
The report added that there is no EU system capable of tracing people’s movements following an illegal border-crossing, so it is therefore impossible to establish the precise number of people who have illegally crossed two sections of external EU borders.
“Only an estimate of about one million persons can be provided, based on the assumption that all migrants first detected irregularly crossing in Greece were then detected for a second time re-entering the EU from the Western Balkans,” the report said.
EU citizens who had joined Islamic State in Syria are also taking advantage of the irregular migration flows to return home, the report found.
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