EU’s borders have seen a 68% increase in illegal crossings in the first nine months of 2021, with the Eastern Mediterranean the only route with a decrease, Frontex said Friday.
The EU’s border agency said in a statement that 133,900 were detected as irregular crossings at the external borders of the EU between January and September.
“This is 47% more than in 2019 before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic when the number of illegal border crossings amounted to 91,000,” it said.
Frontex said 23,630 illegal crossings along the EU’s main migratory routes were detected in September, 40% more than in 2020 when border restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic were in place. “It is also an increase of 17% compared with September 2019,” it said.
The Central Mediterranean and Western Balkan routes have seen the most significant increase in illegal crossings.
The Eastern Mediterranean, on the other hand, has become the only route where the EU saw a decrease in illegal crossings. “There were 13,190 detections between January and September, down 17% from the same period of last year,” according to the statement.
The Eastern Mediterranean registered 1,590 illegal crossings in September and Cyrpus accounted for nearly 50% of arrivals this year.
The arrivals were mostly from Syria, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Congo.