EU external borders in November: Western Balkans route most active


In the first eleven months of this year, more than 308 000 irregular entries were detected at the external borders of the European Union, according to preliminary calculations.* This represents an increase of 68% compared with the same period of last year and is the highest since 2016. The Western Balkan route remains the most active, with 45% of all irregular entry detections to the European Union recorded since the beginning of the year.

In November, EU member states recorded about 27 000 irregular border crossings, 15% more than in the same month in 2021.

To support countries facing heavy migratory pressure and other challenges at their borders, Frontex is currently providing more than 2 100 standing corps officers and various equipment in joint operations.

Key developments:

  • 308 000 irregular entries recorded in first 11 months of 2022

  • 2022 on track to see most irregular migrants since 2016

  • 27 000 irregular entries recorded in November 

  • Western Balkan and Central Mediterranean routes are the most active 

  • Western Mediterranean, Western African and Eastern Border routes see drops in detections 

Top migratory routes

The Western Balkans continues to be the most active migratory route into the EU with more than 14 105 detections in November, twice as many as a year ago.

The Western Balkan region has registered the highest number of detections since the peak of the migration crisis in 2015.

The sustained migratory pressure on the Western Balkans route can be attributed to repeated attempts to cross the border by migrants already present in the region, and the fact that some migrants abuse visa-free access to the region to approach the EU external borders. At the end of November, Serbia has restricted its visa regime which is expected to reduce the numbers of illegal crossings.

Frontex supports the Western Balkan countries by deploying nearly 500 standing corps officers and staff.

The second most active migratory route into the EU is the Central Mediterranean. Here, from the beginning of the year the number of irregular border crossings detected rose by 49% compared to 2021 to nearly 94 000. Meanwhile, by the end of November Eastern Mediterranean route recorded a 116% increase with almost 40 000 detections.

In January-November 2022, the number of irregular migrants detected in the Channel stood at 68 000, which is a 40% increase compared to the same period last year. The migratory pressure is expected to remain high and will be heaviest in favourable weather conditions.

*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.