EU external borders in May: Detections in Western Balkan region more than double


Between January and May, 86 420 irregular entries were detected at the European Union’s external borders, according to preliminary calculations*. This is 82% more than in the same period of last year.

In May, Frontex registered around 23 500 irregular crossings, up 75% from the same month last year.

People fleeing Ukraine and entering the EU through border crossing points are not part of the figures of illegal entries detected. According to the latest Frontex data, more than 5.5 million Ukrainian citizens have entered the EU from Ukraine and Moldova since the beginning of invasion in February.

January-May: Top migratory routes

In the first five months of 2022, the most active migratory routes into the EU were the Western Balkan, Central Mediterranean and Eastern Mediterranean routes.

The Western Balkan route saw 40 675 illegal crossings, or half of the total number recorded at EU’s borders. This is nearly three times the figure from the same period of last year. The main nationalities on this route included Syrians and Afghans. Most of the people detected had been in the Western Balkans already for some time before seeking to enter the EU.

In May, the number of irregular migrants detected in the region more than doubled to 12 088.

Detections on the Central Mediterranean route remained relatively stable with about 16 828 illegal border crossings, an increase of 15% from the same period of last year. The main nationalities represented on this route were Egyptians, Bangladeshi and Tunisians.

In May, the number of irregular migrants stood at 6066, roughly in line with the figure from the same month last year.

The number of detections on the Eastern Mediterranean route continued to rise and amounted to 13 668 in the analysed period, up 116% from last year. Detections in Cyprus rose sharply compared with last year (+213%) and accounted for two out of every three illegal border crossings on this route. Most migrants came from Nigeria, Syria and Congo (Kinshasa).

In May, the number of irregular migrants rose 55% to 2226.

On the Eastern border, the number of illegal border crossings so far this year has increased more than four-fold to 2155. The main nationalities on this route were nationals of Ukraine, Iraq and Belarus.

In May, there were 207 detections, 67% more than in the same month last year.

Outflows on exit on both sides of the Channel increased by 122% compared to 2021. Based on historical data, the peak period on this route normally lasts from June to November. In 2022, over 46 different nationalities have been recorded in the Channel, with a sharp increase in Albanian nationals since mid-April.

*The figure includes other less active migratory routes not mentioned in this press release. The final figures may be higher due to delayed reporting.

Note: The preliminary data presented in this statement refer to the number of detections of irregular border-crossing at the external borders of the European Union. The same person may attempt to cross the border several times in different locations at the external border.