Migrants, Frontex: “Never so many since 2016, you reach the EU at the highest level”

In the first quarter of 2022, illegal crossings of the EU’s external borders have risen to the maximum since the migratory crisis of 2016, to about 40,300, 57% more than in the first quarter of 2021. This was announced by Frontex, specifying that the arrivals of refugees from ‘Ukraine are excluded from the calculation. In March, 11,700 illegal EU border crossings were recorded, 29% more than in 2021. About half of the total arrivals passed through the Western Balkans route, where around 18,300 were recorded, more than double in the first quarter of 2021 (+ 115%); in March there were approximately 6,650, almost tripled since March 2021. This route was mainly used by Syrians and Afghans. About 7 thousand irregular migrants arrived from the Eastern Mediterranean in the quarter (+ 132%); in March they were 3,250, doubled. The main nationalities on this route are now Nigerians and Congolese. Arrivals along the West African route also rose by 70%, to 5,850, mainly Moroccans and Guineans. The eastern land border saw an increase of 714%, to 950, due to illegal attempts to cross the border by Ukrainians fleeing the war, although most Ukrainians who arrived in the EU have passed through the crossings legally. Illegal crossings (+ 190%) of the Channel border towards the United Kingdom almost doubled in the quarter, to 8,900, more or less tripled. The figure is counted because Frontex considers illegal border crossings, not just arrivals in the EU. Frontex does not communicate data on the Central Mediterranean route, which is characterized by a seasonal trend given the length of the crossing by sea.