In the first eight months of 2022, the European border agency Frontex has recorded nearly 188,200 irregular entries at the external borders of the European Union, the highest number of arrivals registered since 2016.
In the first eight months of 2022, irregular entries into the EU increased by 75% compared to the same period in 2021 to 188,200, according to data released by EU border agency Frontex on September 9. It is the highest figure for the January-August period registered since 2016.
The Western Balkan and Central Mediterranean routes remained the most active while the Western Mediterranean route and the eastern terrestrial border recorded a drop in arrivals, Frontex said.
In the month of August alone, member states of the European Union registered some 32,600 irregular crossings, up 35% on the same month in 2021.
Western Balkans and Central Mediterranean most active routes
In particular, the Western Balkans continued to be the route most used by migrants in their attempt to reach the EU, with 15,900 cases reported in August, up 141% compared to last year, Frontex said in a statement.
The high number of irregular border crossings can be attributed to repeated crossing attempts by migrants who are already present in the Western Balkans, the agency noted.
Pressure remains high also on the central Mediterranean route with daily arrivals that prove difficult to handle for the Italian hosting system, the agency explained. Frontex said it is supporting Italian authorities with officials for the registration and identification of arrivals.
The number of irregular migrants who try to cross the Channel to reach the United Kingdom on small boats has remained high with some 41,067 migrants detected so far in 2022, including attempts and crossings. This represents an 80% increase on the same period in 2021.
August, with over 13,500 detections, accounts for the highest number of monthly detections ever reported in the Channel since the start of migratory flows in 2019.
The high number of maritime crossings in August was mainly related to good weather conditions and the possible impact of the UK's new migration plan, the agency noted.
8.8 million Ukrainians have entered EU since start of war
People who flee Ukraine and enter the EU through border crossings are not included in figures on irregular entries reported by Frontex. According to the latest data released by the agency, 8.8 million Ukrainian citizens have crossed into the EU from Ukraine since the start of the war. At the same time, a significant number of Ukrainian citizens have returned home.
"In response to the high migratory pressure, Frontex has more than 2,300 officials and permanent personnel in various sections of the EU's external border, as well as in Albania, Serbia, Montenegro and Moldova", the statement said.