According to the Balkan Security Network portal, the Western Balkans route, which also crosses Serbia, has experienced the greatest expansion.
According to Frontex, the number of registered illegal crossings of migrants in the EU last year was 57 percent higher than in 2020.
“At the time, restrictions imposed due to the corona virus pandemic greatly reduced irregular migration, to exceed pre-crown levels in 2021. This comes as a surprise given the many restrictions on global population mobility,” the text said.
The portal adds that the route leading through the Mediterranean recorded an increase in the number of illegal migrants of 83 percent, the one through Cyprus 123 percent and the route through the Western Balkans as much as 124 percent.
Even in 2020, when the total influx of migrants due to the crown was reduced by 13 percent, the route through the Western Balkans was the most active. In absolute numbers, however, the route leading migrants across the Mediterranean to the EU remains the most important.
One of the factors that influenced such a development in 2021 is the influx of thousands of migrants from the Middle East through Belarus, Frontex believes.
European officials believe that it was an action consciously organized by the authorities in Minsk, as part of a hybrid operation aimed at “attacking” the Union’s external borders.
As for the nationality of illegal migrants in the EU during 2021, unlike in previous years when Afghans and Pakistanis were at the top of the list, now Syrians are the most numerous again. Behind them are refugees from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and only then Afghanistan. The number of migrants from Egypt has increased as much as seven times (compared to 2020), and the population of Bangladesh also stands out in terms of number.
Frontex data indicate that women still make up less than ten percent of the total number of refugees, ie that their number has even decreased compared to 2020 and 2019. As for other vulnerable groups, the number of unaccompanied and unaccompanied minors among illegal migrants remained unchanged.
The research indicates that the increase in the number of crossings in the EU does not necessarily mean that a larger number of people were initiated in crisis areas, but that those people who have been living in countries in the immediate vicinity of the Union have been activated.
“These are people who came to the borders of the Union earlier, where they were kept by more rigorous control or aggravating circumstances that followed the declaration of a global coronary virus pandemic,” the text added.
Western media remind that since the beginning of the refugee crisis in 2015, the Western Balkan route has been one of the most active, as a result of which a very extensive network of human smugglers has developed.
Although in the meantime there has been a significant tightening of border controls, primarily by Hungary and Croatia, as well as restrictions on movement due to the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic, the activities of migrants have never been stopped.
“For migrants trying to reach the EU, Serbia is a key travel point. Although the country is not in the Union, it is on the border, so migrants who reach Serbia are close to the goal,” the text reads. currently in Belgrade alone between 500 and 600 migrants in transit.