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

European Council: Decisions on Covid-19 and energy and debate on other issues
At the two-days summit which ended on Friday, the European Council adopted conclusions on COVID-19, digital, energy prices, migration, trade and ...
Flanders ‘water bomb’ could cause €2 billion in damages and affect thousands
The next "water bomb" or heavy rainfall over Flanders could cause damages estimated at around €2 billion, and could affect up to 100,000 people in ...
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in 5 to 11-year-olds
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the coronavirus in children aged five to 11, Pfizer announced on ...
Belgian airport named best for cargo in Europe
Brussels Airport has been named the best airport in Europe in a 2021 roundup of the best cargo airports across the world. The Asian Freight, ...
NASA plans first return mission to Moon in February 2022
The United States space agency, NASA, has announced that it will be aiming to launch its first, uncrewed mission to the moon, Artemis 1, in February ...
New, reportedly more contagious Delta mutation being monitored
A new mutation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is reported to be more contagious, is being monitored by health authorities in the ...
Angèle releases new single: ‘Bruxelles je t’aime’
Belgian singer Angèle has unveiled her latest song ahead of the release of her new album, due later this year. 'Bruxelles je t'aime' (Brussels I ...
23 million chickens and 1.7 million pigs: Climate experts call for livestock cut
Flander's livestock needs to be drastically cut to save the climate and reach the emission reduction targets, according to the latest advice from the ...
Vaccination uptake surges in Wallonia following CST announcement
The number of people getting vaccinated against the coronavirus increased fourfold in Wallonia after it was announced that the Covid Safe Ticket ...
Guilty by association
BRUSSELS BEHIND THE SCENES Weekly analysis and untold stories With SAM MORGAN Other Brussels behind the scenes stories: Brussels' bid to make ...
Health minister supports use of Covid Safe Ticket in workplace
As the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) has been expanded in Brussels and is set to in Wallonia, federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has ...
Maggots show Conings may have lived longer following disappearance
Former army soldier Jürgen Conings, whose disappearance in mid-May resulted in a month-long manhunt, may have been alive for longer than has been ...