The year 2023 witnessed a record number of irregular migrants arriving in European Union countries, which recorded the arrival of 355,300 migrants, the highest number since 2016, while the central Mediterranean was the busiest migration route in 2023, according to data from the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders “Frontex”.
The Frontex statement stated that the number of irregular immigrants increased by 17 percent over last year, pointing out that the European Union recorded, during the first 11 months of 2023, a total of 355,300 illegal immigrants, which is the highest number since 2016, according to Frontex. Which indicated that the number of illegal crossings of European borders recorded from January until the end of November 2023 exceeded the total number recorded during 2022.
The statement, which was published on the agency’s website on Monday, December 11, added that the central Mediterranean remains the most used route, as local national authorities have so far monitored more than 152,000 crossing cases, and this number is also the highest since 2016.
However, last November the number of monthly detections fell by 24%, to nearly 7,900 cases.
Frontex indicated that the West African route recorded the highest increase in irregular crossings during the period between January and November 2023, which doubled to reach 32,400 operations. This unprecedented increase is the highest since Frontex began collecting information in 2009.
During last November alone, the number of arrivals on this route jumped by more than 500%, compared to the same month in 2022, reaching nearly 4,700 people.
The Eastern Mediterranean remained active, recording during the first 11 months an increase of almost 50% compared to the previous year, with approximately 52,600 cases recorded.
While the Western Balkans road recorded, during the period between January and November 2023, the highest annual decline, compared to other main roads, as the total number of irregular crossings decreased by 28%, reaching 98 thousand cases.
Frontex explained that “sea crossings remain full of risks for people on irregular migration journeys.”
The Frontex report highlighted figures from the International Organization for Migration, which indicated that 2,511 people were lost in the Mediterranean during the current year, most of whom were on the central Mediterranean route.