EU: European Migrant Levels Reach Six-Year High

January 13, 2023

Attempts by migrants to enter European Union nations without authorization in 2022 reached their highest level since 2016, the EU said Friday.

Some 330,000 migrants attempted to enter EU nations without authorization last year, almost half of whom traveled over land through the Western Balkan region, according to the EU agency Frontex.

No matter the entry route, Syrians, Afghans and Tunisians together accounted for about 47% of the attempted entries. 

Men accounted for 80% of the attempts, according to Frontex, which calculates attempts rather than individuals, noting the difficulty in identifying migrants because they routinely travel without passports, and some may make repeated entry attempts. 

Frontex’s latest figures did not include nearly 13 million Ukrainian refugees who were counted at the EU’s external borders between February and December. Special emergency measures were introduced to ease their entry.

Generally, migrants arriving at Europe’s borders to apply for asylum have a reasonable chance of being allowed in, while those who show up without a visa are mostly turned away.

The EU is set to hold a summit on migration in February. However, there are reports that a new deal to reform Europe’s approach to migration, with a focus on shared responsibility and solidarity when it comes to migrants coming to the continent, could be held up by the far-right bloc of Sweden’s new right-wing government.

Sweden currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It’s expected any decisions regarding the EU’s policies towards migrants won’t happen at least until Sweden’s six-month term ends, and Spain takes over the Presidency. 

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