The number of illegal migrants entering the EU last year was slightly less than 200,000, which is the highest number since 2017 and exceeds pre-pandemic proportions, a new report by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) shows.
According to the Balkan Security Network website, the Western Balkan route, which also runs through Serbia, has seen the biggest growth in numbers. According to Frontex, the number of illegal migrant crossings registered in the EU last year was 57% higher than in 2020.
The website adds that the route through the Mediterranean recorded an increase in the number of illegal migrants by 83%, the route through Cyprus by 123% and the route through the Western Balkans 124%.
Even in 2020, when the total influx of migrants due to the pandemic had decreased by 13%, the route through the Western Balkans had been the most active. By far, however, the route leading migrants across the Mediterranean to the EU is the one most used.
Regarding the nationality of migrants in 2021, unlike previous years when Afghans and Pakistanis topped the list, Syrians now make the most of migrants, followed by the refugees from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Afghanistan.
The number of migrants from Egypt has increased sevenfold (compared to 2020) and the migrants from Bangladesh also stands out in terms of numbers.
Data from Frontex indicate that women still account for less than 10% of the total number of refugees, i.e. their number has even decreased compared to 2020 and 2019. As with other vulnerable groups, the number of unaccompanied and accompanied minors among illegal migrants remained unchanged.
The research indicates that the increase in the number of crossings into the EU does not necessarily mean that more people have fled crisis areas, but that those people who have stayed in countries in the immediate vicinity of the EU have become active again.
This post is also available in: Italiano