Frontex publishes Western Balkans Annual Risk Analysis 2015


The number of illegal border crossings in the Western Balkans region rose by 65 per cent last year to 66 000, with two-thirds of the detections on the Hungarian-Serbian border. The surge of migrants across this border section was so high that at one point in December it accounted for more than half of all illegal border crossings at the EU’s external borders.

The number of citizens of Syria detected at the EU borders with the Western Balkans jumped nearly four-fold from 2 700 in 2013 to 12 540 while the number of Afghans almost tripled from 4 070 in 2013 to 10 960 in 2014. These increases more than made up for the fall in migration from North and West Africa across this border.

The Western Balkans also increased in importance as the place of origin of migrants. Some 36 000 of the region’s residents accounted for illegal crossings into the EU in 2014, double the number from the previous year. Although high, the 2014 figure was still below the levels observed prior to visa liberalisation in 2009.

Nationals of Kosovo were the main nationality detected at this border in 2014, accounting for almost four times as many illegal border-crossings as in 2013. There were also twice as many asylum seekers from Kosovo.

This development was largely driven by regional factors such as the reopening of asylum centres in Hungary in July 2014 and various rumours spread by facilitators to encourage migrants to head for the EU. The influx from Kosovo began to increase after Hungary started accommodating family units requesting asylum in open centres. The wave of migrants from Kosovo continued in the first two months of 2015.

Nationals of the five visa-exempt Western Balkan countries submitted more than 48 000 asylum applications in EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries in 2014, which accounted for 9% of all asylum applications in the EU. More than three-quarters of the claims by residents of the Western Balkans were submitted in Germany were migrants travelled after initiating asylum procedures in Hungary.