The Western Balkans route accounted for nearly 45% of all irregular migrants stopped at the EU's external borders during 2022, the European Border Guard Agency, FRONTEX, said in its latest annual report.
About 145,600 irregular border crossings were reported on the Western Balkan route, which includes Albania, which was about 136% more than in 2021. The FRONTEX report claims that this is the highest number of irregular crossings reported on this route since 2015.
According to the FRONTEX report, nationals of Syria, Afghanistan and Turkey made up the largest number of irregular migrants, but nationalities that had previously been few on this route, such as Tunisians, Indians and Burundians, were also reported.
In 2022, according to FRONTEX's preliminary estimates, around 330,000 irregular border crossings were detected at the external border of the European Union from all crossing routes, marking the highest number of migrants since 2016 and an increase of 64%. from last year.
According to the report, Syrians, Afghans and Tunisians together accounted for 47% of irregular migrants in 2022.
"After the low level caused by the pandemic in 2020, this was the second year in a row with a large increase in the number of irregular entries, the FRONTEX report estimates.
Women accounted for less than one in ten immigrants, while the percentage of reported minors fell from last year to about 9 percent.
According to FRONTEX, around 13 million Ukrainian refugees were counted entering the EU's external land borders from Ukraine and Moldova between 24 February 2022 and the end of the year, who are not included in these figures. In the same period, 10 million Ukrainian nationals were reported to exit at the same border sections.
Meanwhile, in the English Channel, according to FRONTEX, over 71,000 irregular exit border crossings were recorded in 2022, including attempts and successful crossings.
The report claims that over 50 different nationalities of irregular migrants were registered in the Channel, most of them from the Middle East, Albania and the Horn of Africa./VOA