Western Balkans, East Med most active migrant routes

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The Western Balkan route saw the most significant increase in detections of migrants and asylum seekers during the first six months, according to data from EU border agency Frontex.

In the first half of 2022, there were about 114,720 irregular entries to the European Union, an increase of about 84% compared to last year.

In June, Frontex registered 23,290 irregular crossings into the EU, 59% more than in the same month of last year.

The most significant increase was recorded on the Western Balkan route, where the number of detections increased nearly three-fold compared with the first six months of 2021.

This increase can be attributed to crossing attempts by migrants already present in the Western Balkans.

About half of all the detections on the external EU border were in the Western Balkans.

Some 55,321 people were detected, nearly three times the total from the same period of last year.

The main nationalities on this route included migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Turkey.

Frontex registered 25,164 irregular border crossings on the Central Mediterranean route, 23% more than in 2021.

In June, there were 5651 irregular crossings on this route.

The main nationalities on this route were Bangladeshis, Egyptians and Tunisians.


The number of detections on the Eastern Mediterranean route, which includes Cyprus, remains high with 17,957 arrivals (an increase of 125%).

In June, there were 2220 illegal crossings on this route.

Most migrants that arrived in the EU through the Eastern Mediterranean route came from Nigeria, Syria and Congo-Kinshasa (the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Arrivals in Cyprus remain a significant portion of the total in this route, with 12,407 arrivals recorded in the first six months (an increase of 214% annually).

On the Eastern land border route, Frontex registered 2452 irregular crossings, 141% more than last year.

The main nationalities on this route were Ukraine, Iraq and Belarus.


People fleeing Ukraine and entering the EU through border crossing points are not included in figures regarding irregular arrivals.

According to Frontex data, 7.2 million people have fled Ukraine into the EU since the start of the war, including 6.3 million Ukrainians.

The number of irregular migrants seeking to cross the Channel towards the UK remains high, with over 22,400 detections, including attempts and crossings, representing an 87% increase.