Frontex: Balkan Migrant Route Numbers Up 167 Per Cent This Year

A group of illegal migrants are dropped-off by bus at the gate of Camp Blazuj, near Saraje

The European Union border agency Frontex has reported that illegal immigrant activity in the western Balkan region has surged by 167 per cent in the first five months of 2022 compared to the same period last year.

Frontex has reported that from January until May of this year, the activity on the Balkan route has more than doubled compared to the same time last year and now accounts for the largest total number of illegal crossings of any of the major European migrant routes.

In a press release this week, Frontex stated that there have been a total of 86,420 illegal arrivals to the European Union, up 82 per cent from the same period last year and that nearly half, 40,675 were reported along the Balkan route.

The agency noted that the figures do not include those fleeing the conflict in the Ukraine, stating that over 5.5 million people have fled the conflict for Europe since Russia invaded the country in February.

“The Western Balkan route saw 40,675 illegal crossings, or half of the total number recorded at EU’s borders. This is nearly three times the figure from the same period of last year. The main nationalities on this route included Syrians and Afghans. Most of the people detected had been in the Western Balkans already for some time before seeking to enter the EU,” Frontex stated.

The figures come as one Balkan country, Slovenia, has decided to dismantle its border fence with Croatia as part of a policy change made by the new government led by Prime Minister Robert Golob, a green-liberal politician who replaced pro-Trump populist Janez Jansa after elections in April.

The only regions that saw even larger growth in numbers so far this year were the Eastern land border with Belarus which saw a 447 per cent growth and the Eastern Mediterranean route to Cyprus, which saw a 213 per cent increase in migrant numbers, though the total number of arrivals were far fewer than other routes.

The new figures come just months after Frontex revealed illegal arrivals were up 78 per cent in January, indicating that the number of migrants has continued to increase even further overall.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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