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European Illegal Border Crossings Increase in the Central Mediterranean and Western Balkans

The number of illegal border crossings at Europe’s external borders in the first seven months of 2021 reached over 82,000, 59% more than the total from a year ago, according to preliminary calculations by the European border and coast guard, Frontex.

In July, Frontex registered 17,300 illegal border crossings, 33% more than in the same month last year and slightly more than in the previous month (14,600). 

Migratory pressure continued to build up on the eastern frontiers of the European Union with more than 3000 illegal entries from Belarus registered at the border to Lithuania in July. This is a significant increase as this border usually sees very low numbers of illegal crossings (22 in January, 14 in February this year). Frontex is currently supporting Lithuania with more than 100 standing corps officers along with patrol cars and helicopters.

The Central Mediterranean route accounted for the highest share of illegal border-crossings in July, followed by the Western Balkan route.

In July, 7,600 illegal border crossings were registered on the Central Mediterranean route into Europe, roughly in line with the same month last year. This brings the total for this year to 30,800, a 96% increase compared with last year. Most migrants on this route came from Tunisia, Bangladesh and Egypt.

On the sea route towards Spain, Frontex recorded 1380 detections, a drop of 32% compared with July 2020. So far this year, 7,040 illegal border crossings were detected on this route, roughly in line with last year’s trend (6,500). Algerian nationals represented 67% of all arrivals on this route, followed by Moroccans. The reason for such a high percentage of Algerian nationals might be the ongoing political and economic situation in the country which have pushed a rising number of people to attempt to reach Europe.

Nearly 400 illegal crossings were detected on the Western African route in July, in line with the same month last year. In total, there were 7350 detections this year, 130% more than last year. Most nationals continue coming from sub-Saharan countries.

The Western Balkan route saw 3,600 detections in July, 67% more than a year ago. The total number of illegal border crossings on the route this year rose by 90% and amounted to 22,600. The majority of migrants came from Syria and Afghanistan, followed by nationals of Morocco.

Frontex observed a slight decrease in the number of detections on the route towards Greece in July with 1065 illegal border crossings. The total for the first seven months of this year dropped by 33% and reached 9,000 compared with 13370 the year before. Nationals of Syria and Turkey accounted for the largest number of detected migrants.

Read more at Frontex

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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