The European Union Border and Coast Guard said the number of people trying to enter Europe without authorization has risen sharply this year
BRUSSELS-The EU Border and Coast Guard said on Tuesday that the number of unauthorized attempts to enter Europe has increased significantly this year, surpassing the number of immigrants crossing the border since 2019, after severe restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. travel. .
Frontex said in a statement that 160,000 “illegal border crossings” were recorded in the first 10 months of this year, an increase of 70% over the same period in 2020 and an increase of 45% over 2019. The largest increase was on the eastern border of the European Union, crossing points in the Balkans and through the central Mediterranean.
Nearly 8,000 people — most of them Iraqis, Afghans, and Syrians — entered through the eastern border of the European Union; the agency says this is a 15-fold increase from 2020. The number of transits from Belarus reached a peak of more than 3,200 in July, but by October it had fallen to more than 600.
Frontex stated that “although high-level friction between the EU and the Belarusian regime continues,” Belarus’s neighbors “significantly strengthened border control measures during a state of emergency”, which prevented a large number of people from crossing the border.
The agency stated that 48,500 border crossings were reported on the “Western Balkan Route”-many migrants crossing on foot to seek a better life or shelter in the relatively wealthy 27 EU member states. More than 9,000 entries were recorded in October, an increase of 810% from 2019.
The number of arrivals through the central Mediterranean has also increased, reaching 6,240 in October, an 186% increase from 2019. Frontex stated that a “significant development” is that more and more immigrants are entering Italy directly from Turkey by sea. Most usually come from Libya and other parts of North Africa.
It said that more and more Egyptians are arriving from Libya through the central Mediterranean. In addition, immigration to the island of Cyprus is also increasing.
The agency stated that 16,390 “illegal border crossings” were reported on the western Mediterranean route, usually from North Africa into Spain, but this number was 23% less than in 2019.
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