Euro-Arab border security conference begins in Amman

Euro-Arab border security conference co-organised by Frontex begins in Amman
2 min read
02 December, 2021
A joint two-day conference in Amman aims to address the growing European migrant crisis. Facing a crisis on its Eastern borders, the EU has urged Arab states to cooperate in tackling migrant smugglers and human traffickers
Frontex polices the European Union's borders [AFP/Getty]

A conference co-organised by the EU’s controversial border guard force Frontex began Wednesday in Amman, with the aim of boosting EU-Arab cooperation on migration, trafficking, and counter-terrorism.

The two-day conference, attended by 44 states, comes as thousands of refugees and migrants are gathered at various EU border flashpoints in search of a better life. 

The European Union Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement warned against “a growing risk of large population movements across the Arab world, with tremendous challenges for the region in the decades to come.”

While acknowledging the role of conflict and climate change in fuelling migration, commissioner Olivér Várhelyi told the  European and Arab delegates that “maybe the most important [challenge] to all of us, is to counter irregular migration, and in particular crack down the criminal networks behind migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings”.

These networks pose a direct threat to our security and stability”, he said.

Saud al-Sharafat, the founder and director of the Shorufat Center for Globalisation and Terrorism Studies and former Jordanian Brigadier General, told The New Arab that the conference aims in part to “raise the level of operational preparedness… and come up with recommendations" to tackle migration issues.

Jordanian Interior Minister Mazen Faraiah called on the international community to increase its support for his country's hosting of refugees.

“Jordan still bears the security, social, and economic burdens of hosting more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees,” Faraiah told conference attendees.

Representatives from Interpol were also at the conference.

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A surge in mostly Middle Eastern refugees on Belarus' borders with EU member states has sparked fresh criticism on how Frontex has engaged in the illegal deportation - or “pushback” - of people crossing the borders.

Frontex denies that it conducts the pushbacks. However, a European Union interpreter disputed that claim on Thursday, saying that he himself was subjected to the illegal practice in September.

Greek border guards mistook him for an asylum seeker, assaulted him, and then forced him across the border into Turkey along with dozens of migrants, he told EU officials and the press.