The EU’s border protection agency, Frontex, has said in a new report that illegal border crossings to the European Union from the Western Balkans have fallen in annual comparison in the first three months of 2023, thanks to strengthened protection of the Hungarian borders, among other factors.
The report states that routes across the Western Balkans and the central Mediterranean remain the most active. In January-March 2023, more than 54,000 people tried to enter the EU illegally, up by 26% from the same period last year, the report said. Attempts registered in March exceeded 22,500, a 60% jump compared with March 2022, it said. Most migrants tried to enter the EU through Italy, with their numbers growing by 305% to 27,651 in January-March, the report said. The route leading through the Western Balkans was the second most active, but entry attempts went down by 22% to 14,858 in the first three months of the year, it said. “The decline can be attributed to the visa-policy alignments in the region with the EU and the reinforcement of border control capacities by Hungary,” the report said.