Migrants rescued in the Mediterranean on the Geo Barents on October 28, 2021 | Photo: ANSA/Igor Petyx
Migrants rescued in the Mediterranean on the Geo Barents on October 28, 2021 | Photo: ANSA/Igor Petyx

More than 184,000 irregular border crossing into the EU were detected by Frontex in the first eleven months of this year. That's a 60% increase compared to the same period in 2020.

A total of 184,180 'illegal' border crossings were detected at the external borders of the European Union (EU) between January and November 2021, according to prelimary data released by Frontex on December 15.

That's a 60% increase compared to January to November 2020 and a 45% increase compared to the same period in 2019.

In November 2021, some 22,450 migrants and refugees arrived in the EU irregularly, according to Frontex -- a 35% increase compared to the same month 2019 and the largest number of November arrivals since 2015.

The places that saw the most significant increases in arrivals were at the eastern border of the EU, in the western Balkans and in the central Mediterranean.

Eastern border

There were nearly 8,000 irregular border crossings at the EU’s Eastern borders in the first eleven months of 2021 -- that's nearly thirteen and twelve times more compared to the same period in 2020 and 2019, respectively, according to the border agency.

Most migrants and refugees on this route hailed from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. Most arrivals happened at the border with Belarus.

Central Mediterranean

The route between Italy and Malta on the European side and Libya and Tunisia on the African side saw the largest number of arrivals so far this years, according to Frontex.

Between January and November of this year, there were over 64,000 arrivals in the central Mediterranean, 89% more than in the same period of the previous year and 380% more than in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

In the month of November alone, there were 8,337 arrivals on this route, 55% more than in November 2020 and 492% more than in November 2019.

The largest national groups among the newly arrived were Tunisians, Egyptians and Bangladeshi. Frontex noted that Egyptians had become the top nationality in November, mostly coming from Libya.

Western Balkans

Frontex registered 55,310 'illegal' border crossings into the EU via the Western Balkan route -- 138% more than during the same period in 2021 and 387% more compared to the same period in 2019. This was the second most frequented route.

Most migrants and refugees who arrived at the borders the EU shares with western Balkan countries came from Syria, Afghanistan and Morocco.

Western Mediterranean

In the first eleven months of 2021, 17,114 irregular border crossings were registered in the Western Mediterreanean (so mainly in Spain) -- 6% more compared to the same period in 2020 and 24% less compared to January to November 2019. Nearly two thirds of all migrants who arrived on this route were Algerians, almost one third were Moroccans, according to Frontex.

Eastern Mediterranean

Frontex tracked 18,764 irregular border crossings on the Eastern Mediterranean route (so mainly in Greece) in the first eleven months of 2021 -- down 3% compared to the same period in 2020 and down 75% compared to 2019.

Most migrants on this route reportedly hailed from Syria, Turkey and Congo (Kinshasa).

Atlantic to Canary Islands

There were 20,183 irregular migrant arrivals registered in on the Western African route between January and November -- across the Atlantic from northwestern Africa to the Spanish Canary Island. That was roughly the same number of arrivals as during the same period in 2020, according to Frontex, but 906% more than in January to November 2019. The majority of migrants on this route came from sub-Saharan Africa.

 

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