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March 23, 2023

Romania Dismantles Criminal Group That Helped 300 Migrants Illegally Reach

Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), together with the country’s police, announced that they dismantled a migrant trafficking group that helped nearly 300 migrants illegally reach Schengen Zone countries via Romania.

Investigators said that the group consisting of about 15 people was formed in Serbia by Serbians and Romanians who picked up persons, especially from refugee centres in Serbia and helped them to cross the border with Romania in exchange for sums between 500-1,000 euros per person, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

DIICOT noted that for a period between October 2021 and March this year, several people, Romanian and Serbian citizens constituted an organized criminal group that helped persons to cross Romanian borders and then reach other EU countries illegally.

The Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism noted that members of this criminal group transported migrants for the fraudulent border crossing of the country’s border with Serbia in Caraș-Severin. Then, the migrants were taken to Timiș county, from where they were helped by other persons to reach other European countries unlawfully.

Authorities in Romania and Bulgaria are continuously dealing with an influx of migrants who cross these countries’ borders in order to reach other EU countries.

The issue has become a significant problem for the European Commission as well. Recently, the Commission announced that it would help both Balkan countries to protect their borders better while promoting two pilot projects aimed at stopping irregular entries at the EU’s external borders.

“Strengthening the external borders with enhanced surveillance measures to be implemented at the Bulgaria-Turkey border is a key priority,” the EU Commission noted while announcing the ‘pilot project’ on March 20.

The project will use additional measures in order to tighten border controls, including deploying cameras as well as vehicle patrols, among others, to monitor the movement of migrants.

“Increasing border protection will mean fast asylum procedures and more effective returns [of migrants],” the European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson pointed out in this regard, according to Info Migrants report.

Both Romania and Bulgaria signed a strategic partnership agreement on March 15 that was designed to tighten cooperation between both countries.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis previously said that both countries are keen to show their readiness to b part of the solutions in order to deal with the illegal migration issue.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer recently said that the European Union’s external borders should be fenced by a high wall in an effort to contain illegal migration after a large number of migrants reach European countries in an unlawful way.