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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Increase in Irregular Border Crossings in the EU Entirely Driven by Central Mediterranean Route Surge

Increased migratory pressure on this route may persist in the coming months with smugglers offering lower prices for migrants departing from Libya and Tunisia amid fierce competition among the criminal groups.

The number of detections of irregular border crossings at the European Union’s external borders rose 13 percent in the first seven months of 2023 to 176,100, the highest total for the January-July period since 2016, according to preliminary calculations*.

The increase was entirely driven by the number of arrivals through the Central Mediterranean, which remains the main migratory route into the EU and accounts for more than half of all detections at EU borders. The number of irregular crossings on this route more than doubled (+115 percent).

Nearly 2.800 standing corps officers and Frontex staff are involved in various operations supporting member states and neighboring countries in protecting the EU’s external borders and fighting crime.

  • In July, there were nearly 42,700 detections of irregular border crossings at EU external borders, up 19 percent year-on-year. This is the highest since March 2016.
  • The Central Mediterranean route accounted for half of the irregular crossings into the EU so far this year.
  • Entries on other migratory routes into the EU declined in 2023.

The Central Mediterranean remains the most active route into the EU this year, with over 89,000 detections reported by national authorities in the first seven months of 2023. This is the highest total on this route for this period since 2017.

Increased migratory pressure on this route may persist in the coming months with smugglers offering lower prices for migrants departing from Libya and Tunisia amid fierce competition among the criminal groups.

Arrivals on all the other migratory routes saw declines from a year ago, ranging from 2 percent on the Western Mediterranean up to 29 percent on the Eastern Mediterranean route.

Unfortunately, the sea crossings remain extremely dangerous. According to data from the International Organization for Migration, more than 2,060 people went missing in the Mediterranean between January and July, with the vast majority on the Central Mediterranean route.

During the January-July period, the Western Balkan route, the second most active route with more than 52,200 detections, saw a decline of 26 percent, in large part due to tighter visa policies. 

The number of irregular crossings in the English Channel towards the U.K. in July stood at close to 5,500, bringing the total for the first seven months of 2023 to almost 27,300. This is roughly in line with the same period of last year.

*Note: The preliminary data presented in this statement refer to the number of detections of irregular border-crossing at the external borders of the European Union. The same person may cross the border several times in different locations at the external border.

Read more at Frontex

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Homeland Security Today
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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Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
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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