Share article:
Share article:

Nearly 140,000 persons illegally entered the EU in 2019

© Belga

Over 139,000 persons crossed the EU’s borders illegally in 2019, Fabrice Leggeri, director-general of the European Border and Coastguard Agency, Frontex, said at a press conference on Friday.

This was a 6% reduction versus 2018, 92% less than the record set in 2015 during the migration crisis, and the lowest number since 2013.

Afghans were the largest national group, accounting for about a quarter of illegal migrants arriving in the EU in 2019, Leggeri said. This was thrice the 2018 number, he added.

The percentage of women is also on the increase, according to Frontex. They represented about 23% of the migrants in 2019, up from 19% in 2018. And more minors under the age of 14 years have also been arriving: Frontex recorded 14,600 children in 2019, 1,000 more than in 2018.

The number of irregular arrivals through the Central Mediterranean went down last year (-41%) as did arrivals via the Western Mediterranean (-58%). On the other hand, the numbers went up in the Eastern Mediterranean (+46%), where over 82,000 migrants made the crossing.

Frontex rescued 59,930 migrants in 2019, identified 693 drug traffickers, seized 124 tonnes of drugs and 20 million cigarettes, and detected 4,918 fake documents, the agency reported.

Turning to the role of Frontex in organizing repatriations, Leggeri said 15,850 persons were sent back last year, as against 13,700 in 2018.

The agency will continue to expand in 2020, with about 700 new employees, after receiving 7,500 applications for this first wave of recruitments. These new employees should be ready for deployment from 1 January 2021.

Frontex is in charge of monitoring and managing the external borders of the Schengen area. It works in collaboration with member States.

he Brussels Times

Latest news

More women take police selection tests in Belgium
The selection tests to become a police inspector have more and more female participants, according to figures released by Interior Affairs Minister ...
‘Absurd’: all Brussels schools should have the same Covid rules
Several city councillors for education in Brussels are calling to abolish the "absurd" differences in coronavirus measures for Dutch-speaking and ...
Massive renovations for iconic venue in the heart of Brussels
Brussels concert hall Ancienne Belgique has announced plans to renovate the AB Café and the AB Salon and is looking for a contractor fit for the job. ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...
Test results show pupils have fallen behind in Flemish schools
Learning delays have been reported in almost all subject areas in Flanders since the start of the pandemic, a trend that continued in 2021, a ...
Belgium considers relaxing testing rules for UK travellers
At the next Consultative Committee meeting, Belgium will look into relaxing the testing and entry policy for travellers coming from the United ...
Jette libraries start giving plants away with books
Visitors to libraries in the Brussels municipality of Jette will soon be able to pick up a free plant along with a book, thanks to the new Plantotek ...
‘Do what you want, but do it as safely as possible,’ experts warn
As the daily number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 3,000 for the first time since May, infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe and ...
‘We’re running dry’: Brussels teacher shortage reaches critical levels
The teacher shortage in Brussels is affecting schools across language borders, according to Brussels’ Minister for Multilingualism and Dutch ...
New coronavirus infections above 3,000 for first time since May
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has skyrocketed to the highest rate since the start of May 2021. Between 9 and 15 October, ...
Belgium in Brief: Getting To The Airport
When I saw the news of plans for a tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels' outskirts to the airport, my first reaction was sheer joy.  Let ...
EU should invest €5 trillion in climate plan, says State Secretary for Economic Recovery
The European Union must invest €5 trillion in its climate plan over the next decade to "retain its credibility as a political project," according ...