Irregular border crossings at an eight-year high in 2023, says Frontex

Wed, 17 Jan 2024 8:59 GMT
Irregular border crossings into the European Union reached an eight-year high in 2023, the EU’s border and coast guard agency has said.
Irregular border crossings at an eight-year high in 2023, says Frontex

According to preliminary calculations by Frontex, approximately 380,000 people irregularly entered into the EU last year, the highest level since 2016.

The 2023 figure constituted a 17% increase compared to 2022, indicating a consistent upward trend over the past three years.

The central Mediterranean region was the most active migratory route into the EU, accounting accounting for 41% of crossings, followed by the Western Balkans at 26% and the Eastern Mediterranean at 16%.

Syrians accounted for over 100,000 irregular crossings, the highest number among all nationalities. They were followed by Guineans and Afghans. These three top nationalities accounted for over a third of all detections.

Syrian nationals accounted for over 100,000 migrant crossings into EU borders, by far the highest number among other nationalities. They are followed by Guinean and Afghan nationals. These three groups accounted for over one third of all detected crossings.

The Frontex data shows that women accounted for 10% of the total number of all irregular crossings last year, and children accounted for another 10%.

“The numbers presented today show the evolving challenges we face in managing the EU’s external borders,” Frontex Executive Director Hans Leijtens said. “We remain committed to ensuring the security and integrity of the EU’s borders. It’s equally crucial to address the humanitarian aspects of migration. These figures represent not just statistics but real people.”

Frontex said it has deployed 2,500 European border guards and other staff in joint operations at external EU borders to support member states and third countries in managing migratory flows and to contribute to detecting and preventing cross-border crime, such as migrant smuggling, human trafficking and terrorism.


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