BY DAILY SABAH WITH AFP
ISTANBUL AUG 12, 2022 – DAILY SABAH
A logo of EU border agency Frontex is seen at the agency’s headquarters in Warsaw, Poland, Sept. 8, 2021. (Reuters File Photo)
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There has been an 86% surge in the number of migrants in the European Union in the first seven months of 2022 compared to the same period last year, the bloc’s border agency Frontex said Friday.
In July alone, the number increased by 63% year-over-year to 34,570, according to a news release publishing the preliminary data.
Overall, 155,090 migrants arrived in the EU from January to July, it said.
Ukrainian refugees entering the EU through border crossings were not included in the figures, the agency said.
According to Frontex, 7.7 million Ukrainian citizens have entered the EU since the start of the Russian invasion in February.
More than 14,866 irregular entries, “nearly three times more” than in July last year, were recorded via the Western Balkan route, which continues to be “the most active.”
The main nationalities on this route were migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Türkiye.
The central Mediterranean route was used by more than 42,500 migrants between January and July, an increase of 44% compared to the first seven months of last year.
The number of detections on the Eastern Mediterranean route remained high with 22,601 arrivals, “more than double” compared to last year.
The number of arrivals in the Greek Cypriot administration accounted for more than half of the total number of detections, with most migrants coming from Syria, Nigeria and Congo.
On the EU’s eastern border, the number of illegal crossings has fallen by 32% since the start of the year, to 2,923.
The main nationalities present on this route were Ukrainian, Iraqi and Belarusian nationals.
Channel crossings, meanwhile, increased by 55% compared to January-July 2021, with 28,000 cases detected, according to Frontex.
The agency has been accused of deliberately and systematically cooperating with Greece in illegal pushbacks of asylum-seekers to Turkish waters in the Aegean Sea.
A 129-page investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) found that Frontex, under former executive director Fabrice Leggeri, was complicit in Greek efforts to force migrants and asylum-seekers crossing the Aegean Sea to return to Turkey, German magazine Der Spiegel wrote.
The confidential report was also seen by France’s Le Monde newspaper and investigative outfit Lighthouse Reports. It follows repeated allegations by aid groups that Frontex was turning a blind eye to Greek human rights violations at sea.