Frontex reported Record Levels of Illegal MigrationEU | August 12, 2023, Saturday // 13:59| views
In the first seven months of this year, record levels of illegal crossings at EU borders were reported, DPA reported, citing the Union's border agency - Frontex.
According to the agency's data, there were 176,100 attempts to cross the bloc's borders. This is the highest number reported for this period since 2016 and represents a 13% increase. In July alone, there were 42,700 attempted crossings, a 19% increase compared to July 2022, the agency said.
According to the data, more than half of the attempts, or 89,047, were via the central Mediterranean route – for example from Libya and Tunisia, via Sicily and Malta. Along this route, the number of attempted illegal crossings has more than doubled in the first seven months of this year.
The arrival of thousands of migrants on Italy's shores has created political tensions and prompted EU leaders to try to strike a deal with Tunisia to prevent people from starting their journey to Europe from there, DPA said. According to Frontex, the increased migratory pressure on this route could continue in the coming months as people traffickers offer lower prices to cross the Mediterranean amid fierce competition among criminal gangs.
However, Frontex notes that the Mediterranean route remains dangerous and more than 2,060 migrants have disappeared in the first seven months of this year.
The agency notes a decrease in attempts to cross the Western Balkans route, which is the second most popular. More than 52,200 crossings were recorded there, a decrease of 26% and mainly due to stricter visa policies.
All other routes also reported a reduction in attempted illegal crossings, added Frontex.
Bulgaria's Ministry of Interior reported that 46,940 attempts to cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border were prevented in 2023. This represents a 73% increase in the number of illegal migrants entries into the country compared to the same period in 2022, when there were 27,083.
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