Illegal EU Arrivals in 2021 Above Pre-Pandemic Levels, Frontex Says

© AFP 2022 / GIOVANNI ISOLINOMigrants rescued in the Mediterranean sea wait to disembark from the Sea-Eye 4 rescue vessel as it arrives in the port of Pozzallo, in Sicily on December 24, 2021.
Migrants rescued in the Mediterranean sea wait to disembark from the Sea-Eye 4 rescue vessel as it arrives in the port of Pozzallo, in Sicily on December 24, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.01.2022
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The number of illegal border-crossings at the external borders of the European Union in 2021 is estimated to be almost 200,000, which is higher than pre-pandemic levels, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, said on Tuesday.
"The total number of illegal border-crossings in 2021 was just short of 200,000, the highest number since 2017. This is an increase of 36% when compared with 2019, and an increase of 57% compared with 2020, when we could observe a strong impact of COVID-19 restrictions," Frontex said in a statement.
According to the agency, the increase in illegal migration was caused not only by the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions on global mobility but other factors as well, including the situation at the EU-Belarusian border.
The migrants seeking to cross EU borders in 2021 were mostly Syrians, Tunisians, Moroccans, Algerians and Afghans.
The League's Matteo Salvini addresses the media after meeting with Mario Draghi, at the Chamber of Deputies in Rome, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.10.2021
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The Central Mediterranean route remained the most popular, accounting for one-third of all reported unauthorized border crossings, according to the statement.
Europe has been dealing with an influx of refugees from Afghanistan and neighbouring countries since the Taliban (under UN sanctions over terrorist activities) took control of the country in early September. Another migrant crisis unfolded at the EU border with Belarus, peaking in summer and autumn.
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