Irregular Migration, Human Smuggling, and the Eastern Enlargement of the European Union



This article examines the consequences of the latest round of EU-Enlargement in May 2004 on irregular migration across Central and Eastern Europe. Drawing on a unique collection of both quantitative and qualitative data related to irregular migration and human smuggling, the article first presents some long-term trends in irregular migration across the region before taking up more recent developments in 2003 and 2004. While border apprehensions have broadly declined since about 2000 there is ample evidence for an increasing role of human smugglers in facilitating irregular migration. In addition, there are noticeable changes in the modus operandi of human smugglers.