Frontex report shows drop in illegal border crossings into Europe

Drop in illegal border crossings into Europe
Fabrice Leggeri (right) welcomed a drop in illegal border crossings into Europe © EU2017EE Estonian Presidency

The EU’s border security agency, Frontex, has released its Risk Analysis for 2018 report, which shows illegal border crossings into Europe have dropped to the lowest figure in four years.

2017 was Frontex’s first full year in operation as the EU’s border security agency, and it saw a drop in the annual total of illegal border crossings into Europe. However, the figure of 204,700 was still much more than the average of those registered before 2014.

The report analyses a number of topics to determine how effectively Frontex is tackling illegal migration, including the role of border guards in countering terrorism, the impact of cross-border crime, trafficking in human beings, and secondary migratory movements in the EU.

What did the report find?

The report highlighted a number of other findings which indicate that Frontex’s attempts to combat people smuggling and illegal border crossings into Europe are improving the situation. These include:

  • Frontex assistance in returns was up 33% to 14,000;
  • Total number of illegal border crossings were down 60% to 204,700;
  • Refusals of entry were down 15% to 183,500; and
  • Detections of people smugglers and facilitators dropped 19% to 10,200.

Despite this progress, the report indicates that pressure on the EU’s external border remains high. While there was a significant decrease in detections in the Eastern Mediterranean and Central Mediterranean routes and the secondary Western Balkan Route, there was a rise in detections in the Western Mediterranean route.

What did Frontex say about the results

As illegal border crossings remain high, Frontex’s efforts in the area will continue. Fabrice Leggeri, executive director of Frontex, welcomed its increased efforts in this area, which have been assisted by the growth of the agency over the past few years.

He said: “Amid its expanding role in the areas of border control and security, Frontex has reorganised to reflect its many new responsibilities. Just over the last year, the agency has grown by a third.”

Leggeri concluded his introduction to its recent report by reaffirming Frontex’s commitment to supporting border security and combating illegal border crossings into Europe: “Together with its many partners, the growing European Border and Coast Guard Agency remains committed to tackling the many challenges outlined in [the] report, helping ensure security of Europe’s external borders, EU member states and European citizens”.

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