EU border protection agency Frontex: Illegal border crossings at pre-Corona level

Status: 11.01.2022 5:24 p.m.

They come from Syria, Tunisia or Afghanistan: people tried to enter the EU illegally almost 200,000 times in the past year. According to the border protection agency Frontex, the number is as high as it was before the pandemic.

The number of illegal border crossings into the EU last year reached a high since 2017. According to preliminary data, the EU border protection agency Frontex recorded almost 200,000 border crossings, as the authority based in Warsaw announced. That is an increase of 36 percent compared to 2019 and 57 percent compared to 2020, when the corona restrictions still had a significant impact on migration.

According to Frontex, most of the arrested were Syrians, followed by Tunisians, Moroccans, Algerians and Afghans. Above all, more people came via the central Mediterranean and the Western Balkans than in 2020. Around a third of the illegal border crossings (65,362) were reportedly via the central Mediterranean to Italy or Malta. This is 83 percent more than in 2020. With a view to the Western Balkans, the value increased by 125 percent to around 60,000.

Significant increase on the border with Belarus

Much stronger – albeit at a much lower level – was the increase in migration via Belarus to the EU. According to Frontex, 7,915 illegal border crossings have been registered on the eastern land border. That was a tenfold increase compared to the previous year. The EU accuses the authoritarian Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of having purposefully flown in people from crisis regions to Minsk in order to then smuggle them into the EU.

According to Frontex, the numbers indicate the attempted and successful illegal entries. The same person can be counted several times if they try several times or if, for example, they first enter Greece illegally and later on the Balkan route again illegally to Croatia.

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