Intelligence and Security Challenges of the European Migrant Crisis: An Insight into an Innovative Forecasting Model


Teodora Ivanuša, Ph.D.
University of Maribor, Faculty of Logistics, Celje, Slovenia

Dejan Dragan, Ph.D.
University of Maribor, Faculty of Logistics, Mariborska cesta 7, Celje, Slovenia

Iztok Podbregar, Ph.D.
University of Maribor, Faculty of Organizational Sciences, Kranj, Slovenia

Gašper Hribar
University of Maribor, Faculty of Logistics, Mariborska cesta 7, Celje, Slovenia

Janez Žirovnik
District Court of Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia

Series: European Political, Economic, and Security Issues
BISAC: POL058000

It is crucial that governments collect information regarding the incoming flow of immigrants into their countries; this is usually done via intelligence services. Data and information related to migrations is used not only for statistical, humanitarian, medical, public security, and other similar purposes, but are also especially used for purposes concerning national security. In the midst of migrants seeking international help and humanitarian aid, members of organized crime, human, drugs, and weapons traffickers, terrorists, and other criminals/deviants could potentially be hiding amongst those seeking refuge. Their purpose is to clandestinely reaching their destination where criminal offences, terrorism and other similar activities can inflict serious damage to national or international security.

During the last few years, the rising inflow of refugees and economic migrants is becoming a more and more serious economic, political and security problem for Europe, especially for the member countries of the European Union. In 2015, the migrant inflow into Europe was above one million, which is the most exceptional influx to date, and policymakers do not have a competent answer of how to react. To make things even worse, Turkey is threatening to push an enormous number of additional migrants into the Greek islands. Additional controversy is present in the Schengen area, which will probably narrow – not expand – the so-called Dublin Declaration, in European countries which are not members of the European Union, in the United Kingdom following “Brexit”, and in some countries where overall political instability seems incessant. Such political complexity of the given situation in Europe might diminish the capabilities of intelligence and security services that are normally highly successful.

The core of the proposed book addresses the statistical analysis and modeling of the potential future of migrant inflow according to Turkey’s possible motives in the future. Since the latter can be quite unpredictable, a relatively difficult forecasting problem is currently unavoidable, and possible uncertainties might be quite severe. The calculated prediction results imply that the migrant inflow trend will remain considerably high, particularly in the case if Turkey decides to completely open its borders for further migrations towards the Greek islands. This finding should be a serious warning to the EU to create a more efficient immigration policy in the near future.


Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Dossier: The European Migrant Crisis (pp. 1-44)

Chapter 2. Intelligence and Security Challenges of European Migrant Crisis: An Insight into an Innovative Forecasting Model (pp. 45-122)

Index (pp. 123)

This book is written for security and intelligence experts who engage in issues related to current European migrant crisis. It is also written for experts from the area of forecasting and time series analysis, as well as for those who are working in development of statistical models in a general sense. Within this scope, particular emphasis is dedicated to show how a plethora of applied quantitative methods can serve as a useful decision-support system to analyze and predict security and intelligence issues.


“The Monograph “Intelligence and Security Challenges of European Migrant Crisis: An Insight into an Innovative Forecasting Model”, written by my respected colleagues Theodora Ivanuša, Dejan Dragan, Iztok Podbregar, Gašper Hribar, and Janez Žirovnik, resulted from their successfully conducted theoretical and empirical research on important and current topic: migrant crisis in Europe 2015 – 2016, with the emphasis on its security and intelligence aspects. A unique methodological approach to researching the phenomenon resulted in testing and presenting Innovative Forecasting Model, applicable in short-term and mid-term anticipation of occurrences and development of similar crises in the future.

The reasons behind increased attention to illegal migration today in the world are not only implications of refugee waves on political, economic, and demographic situations for the transit and host countries of asylum seekers. Namely, in the masses of refugees and migrants, the presence of undercover terrorist and transnational criminal organizations is highly expected, that may affect the national security of the country they encounter with. Noticeable example of this claim is the peak of migrant crisis in 2015, when over one million persons from the Middle East arrived in the Member States of the European Union via transiting Balkan route from Turkey. Many asylum seekers who have entered the EU on the refugee wave, have been later identified as perpetrators or accomplices of terrorist acts done in several European cities.

In introductory chapter (pg. 1-44) the authors have provided a comprehensive overview of the background, causes, trends, features, including security and geopolitical consequences of European migrant crisis, on transit countries on the Balkan and Mediterranean route, as well as on the European Union and its Member States. In this regard, it was pointed out that the migrant crisis contributed to long-term breach of the values of the EU, weakening the internal cohesion and questioning the future of the European Union, boosting populism and xenophobia in many European countries, as well as worsening inter-state relations between fragile area of the Balkans.

Studying the activities of the intelligence institutions of European countries during the migrant crisis, the authors point out the lack of attentiveness, thus incompleteness and ineffectiveness of measures for the systematic collection of relevant data and information, mismatch between national databases, failure in applying corresponding methods of analyzing and modeling, therefore, the absence of an anticipating component. The monograph states that from the intelligence community in transit and reception countries it was not realistic to expect that these countries could keep the situation completely keep under control, given the lack of inter-state and multilateral cooperation, especially in terms of the possible political influence of the intelligence-security institutions, as well as the existence of different national interests in regards to this issue. In this context, the authors are questioning whether the migrant crisis imposed the need of establishing a new specific intelligence and counterintelligence methods?

Second chapter (pg. 45-122) offers the results of analysis of the migrant wave flow across Turkey and Greece into Europe during the period October 2015 to June 2016. For the purposes of research, conducted on the basis of statistical and other open source data, the authors have used a combined Monte Carlo Scenario-Playing Simulation-Based Mechanism, in addition to designing integrated ARIMA-Intervention Model. Researchers have, in the basic of ARIMA Model, added a component of intervention due to the fact that the European migrant crisis was greatly provoked and then stopped, by the unexpected effects of external factors.

In analyzing and modeling, daily frequencies of the movement of refugees on the Balkan route during 250 days of observations were tracked and recorded, periodic trends related to the activities of the network of human traffickers (approximately weekly cycles until February 2016), and effects of external factors; situation changing on the migrant route, after the signing of the EU-Turkey Agreement on March 20, 2016, sudden changes in policy of the participating countries towards migrants in the period before the Agreement (procedure stop-start), and other unexpected external events, in terms of its effect on the magnitude expression, i.e. increase and/or decrease of migrant wave intensity. All this have constituted a framework to the authors to generate future trends of situation development in similar circumstances, using the Monte Carlo Scenario-Playing Mechanism.

On the grounds of the results of analyzing and modeling, the readers and intelligence community in European countries, were presented with possibilities of applying the Innovative Forecasting Model – for the purpose of reaching a short-term and med-term anticipation of likelihood of the future migrant wave occurrence towards Europe, i.e. the establishment of an appropriate system of early warning. In this regard, it is important to point out that the quantitative modeling, testing of various generators of uncertainty and randomness, and predictive approach of this type by now was very rarely used in research related to security issues and terrorism battling.

The obtained results could be significantly important for the relevant institutions of the European Union and its Member States, as well as, for transit states, to plan appropriate measures of border protection, battling terrorism, and improvement of the asylum policy. Also, the proposed Innovative Forecasting Model can contribute to the improvement of the methodology of analyzing data within the intelligence community and be useful to researchers focused on security issues.

That being said, the monograph „Intelligence and Security Challenges of European Migrant Crisis: An Insight into an Innovative Forecasting Model” represents a valuable and innovative scientific achievement and its publication should be wholeheartedly supported.”
Dragan Trivan, PhD, Associate Professor, University “UNION – NIKOLA TESLA,” Belgrade, Serbia

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