Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Frontex: Hungary border protection contributed to falling illegal entries from Balkans

Illegal border crossings to the European Union from the Western Balkans have fallen in annual comparison in the first three months of 2023, thanks to strengthened protection of the Hungarian borders, among other factors, the EU's border protection agency, Frontex, said in a report published on Wednesday.

Routes across the Western Balkans and the central Mediterranean remain the most active, the report said.

In January-March 2023, more than 54,000 people have tried to enter the EU illegally, up by 26 percent from the same period last year, the report said. Attempts registered in March exceeded 22,500, a 60 percent jump compared with March 2022, it said.

Most migrants tried to enter the EU through Italy, with their numbers growing by 305 percent to 27,651 in January-March, the report said. The route leading through the Western Balkans was the second most active, but entry attempts went down by 22 percent to 14,858 in the first three months of the year, it said. “The decline can be attributed to the visa-policy alignments in the region with the EU and the reinforcement of border control capacities by Hungary,” the report said.

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