Review of the Year: Irregular border crossings on the rise in Europe this year

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By Euronews
Review of the Year: Irregular border crossings on the rise in Europe this year
Copyright  euronews

Irregular border crossings on external frontiers of the European Union have been on the rise in 2022.

According to the EU's border agency Frontex, there were some 281,000 crossings logged in the EU since the start of the year until the end of October.

This figure is an increase of 77% since 2021, via land and sea routes.

Just in the month of October, there were 42,000 irregular crossings - 71 % more than in October last year.

The Western Balkan region is the most active route, registering 128,000 people - the highest number since the peak of the migration crisis in 2015.

Governments built fences

Building fences and walls was the response of governments then and now, in particular in 2021 after Belarus allegedly "funneled" migrants to the borders in a fight against Brussels.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has sharpened fears of similar efforts to " weaponise migration".

The Schengen area currently has 19 border fences stretching for more than 2,000 kilometres.

Twelve EU countries have built fences at one or more of their borders and many have restored border controls.

This suspends the rules of the Schengen system

France responded by tightening controls, much to the frustration of human rights groups.

And The Basque country along the Franco-Spanish border saw thousands of migrants from Africa attempting to reach northern Europe.

Two major incidents

There were two specific incidents this year that underlined the need for a EU common response: the dramatic images of migrants trying to cross from Morocco into Spain via Melilla - when 23 people died.

The other was the dispute between France and Italy over the migrants on board the OCEAN VIKING ship. Rome's government rejected the calls to dock at Italy and so they disembarked at Toulon.

Brussels reaction

With alarm bells ringing, Brussels announced a plan to improve the coordination of migrant arrivals for a fair migration management system and say it should be done in a humane way.

Brussels still monitors the increasing numbers.

War in Ukraine

Europe has so far welcomed some 7 million Ukrainians and from the outset of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, member states created a system of 'temporary protection' for almost 5 million people.

According to the UN's refugee agency, Romania has offered more than 91,000 Ukrainians temporary protection, while Poland has offered 1.5 million people, similar rights.

France has also put schemes in place for 118,000 Ukrainian refugees.