Frontex, the EU border protection agency, has published a report on the migration situation in the European Union, including on the Community’s eastern border. According to preliminary calculations, in the first ten months of 2021, there were approximately 160,000 cases of illegal crossing of the EU’s external borders. This is an increase of nearly 70 percent and almost twice as much as in the same period of 2019, Frontex points out.
“In October, there were nearly 22,800 illegal border crossings on major European migration routes, 30 percent more than in 2020 when the pandemic border restrictions were in place. It’s also 18 percent more than in October 2019 before COVID-19 appeared.” “- we read in the Frontex report.
The agency notes that the greatest increase in these incidents was recorded on “the Eastern, Western Balkan and Central Mediterranean routes, and in Cyprus”. He adds that the number of attempts to illegally enter the European Union via the western Mediterranean has decreased.
WATCH TVN24 LIVE ON TVN24 GO >>>
The situation on the eastern border
Frontex data show that nearly 8,000 cases of illegal border crossings were detected on the eastern border of the European Union this year. “This is 15 times more than last year,” reads the report. Most of the migrants come from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
“The EU border with Belarus remains the most affected by the influx of migrants in 2021” – emphasizes the agency. He adds that after reaching the “historically high” number of illegal border crossings in July this year (over 3,200), in the following months the influx of migrants via the eastern land route decreased to over 600 cases recorded in October this year.
“Faced with the ongoing serious friction between the European Union and the Belarusian regime, EU Member States neighboring Belarus have significantly strengthened their border control measures in the zones under the state of emergency,” emphasizes Frontex, adding that the toughened controls largely stopped the wide influx of migrants trying to enter in October. to the European Union from the territory of Belarus.
Western Balkans Trail
By November, 48,500 migrants had been registered on the migration route through the Western Balkans who had illegally crossed the border of the European Union. In October alone, more than 9,000 such incidents were detected, which is an increase of 140 percent compared to last year (3,816) and an increase of 810 percent compared to October 2019 (1,003).
As Frontex points out, these figures mean that in October, 40 percent of the illegal border crossings of the EU took place in the Western Balkans. The agency points out that the most common migrants choosing this route are Syrians, Afghans or Moroccans.
Central Mediterranean route
According to Frontex, from January to October this year, European authorities recorded 55,000 cases of illegal crossing of the EU border on the Central Mediterranean route. In October alone, there were 6,240 such incidents, 85 percent more than last year and 186 percent more than in 2019.
Frontex notes that in October the number of migrants arriving in Italy directly from Turkey by sea increased. Most of the migrants on this route are citizens of Tunisia, Bangladesh and Egypt. The latter mainly come from the territory of Libya.
West Mediterranean route
A Frontex report shows that 16,390 people have illegally entered the European Union via this route in the ten months from the beginning of 2021 – 14 percent more than last year and 23 percent less than in 2019.
In October alone, 1,614 cases of illegal border crossings via this route were detected, which is 42 percent less than last year. More than half, as many as 63 percent of migrants taking this route are Algerians, and 29 percent – Moroccans.
East Mediterranean route
According to the EU agency’s data, between January and October 2021, 15,770 cases of illegal crossing of the European Union border were recorded there. This is 11 percent less than in 2020 and 76 percent less than in 2019.
October saw 2,585 similar incidents, 40 percent more than the same month last year.
“The overall number of illegal (border) crossings on this route remains lower than last year, with the significant increase in the number of migrants arriving in Cyprus being partially offset by the large decline in the number of people arriving via the Eastern Aegean,” the report reads.
Most of the migrants on this route are Syrians, Turks and Congolese.
West African route
According to Frontex data, 16 710 migrants have illegally entered the EU via the West African route since the beginning of this year. This is 46 percent more than in 2020 and as much as 1020 percent more than in 2019, informs the EU border protection agency.
In October, 3,515 illegal border crossings were recorded in this part of the European Union, 34 percent less than in the same month last year.
Most of the migrants on this route are from Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa, reports Frontex.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / STRINGER, Frontex