Since 2016 most crossings at the EU’s external borders

In the first half of this year, Frontex, the European border control body, recorded 132,370 crossings of the EU’s external borders via ‘irregular routes’. This is the highest number since 2016.

This increase is due entirely to the increase in the number of people immigrating to Italy via the Mediterranean Sea. This is a very dangerous route, including for children. Frontex stresses that the number of crossings does not necessarily equal the number of people traveling to the EU. Because people can cross the border multiple times.

The border control system accounts for six different migration routes. One of them is the departure route, i.e. the route to the United Kingdom. Others are through the eastern border (6000 kilometers between the EU and Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia), the Western Balkans, the Canary Islands and three routes through the western, eastern and central Mediterranean. Frontex reported that the number of crossings has decreased on all those routes except the latter.

The route through the central Mediterranean Sea runs from North Africa to Italy. It has long been a very important route for refugees and others trying to reach Europe. According to Frontex data 2016 was a record year with 181,459 crossings.

In the first half of this year, 65,571 people crossed the border there. This is 137 percent more than last year.


UN The migration organization IOM keeps statistics on people who have disappeared or died in the Mediterranean. By far the majority of deaths occur on the central route. Till July it was 1727 people. 2016 was a record year for these figures, with 5139 deaths en route to Europe. Although people die due to poor conditions, accidents or crimes, almost all those who die are drowned.

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Ferdinand Woolridge

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