The flow of migrants illegally crossing the border of the European Union exceeded the pre-pandemic level and reached the indicators of 2017. Such data are provided by the European Union agency for the security of external borders (Frontex).
The total number of illegal border crossings in 2021 was slightly less than 200,000, which is 36% more than in 2019 and 57% more than in 2020. Frontex notes that other factors, in addition to the lifting of restrictions on global mobility, are the reason for the increase in migration pressure.
One of such factors of 2021 was the situation at the border with Belarus, making it another year when migration was used in a hybrid operation aimed at the external border of the EU, the press release noted.
In 2021, Syrians remained the most cited nationality of people found crossing the border without permission, followed by Tunisians, Moroccans, Algerians and Afghans. Only every tenth migrant was a woman.
The most popular route remains the Central Mediterranean. It accounts for one third of all reported illegal border crossings.
Nearly 8,000 illegal border crossings were detected at the eastern land borders in 2021, ten times more than in 2020. A state of emergency was declared in all three EU member states neighboring Belarus. The indicators peaked in the second half of the year, when migration pressure first concentrated at the border with Lithuania, and then moved to the borders with Poland and Latvia.