Detections in the Central Mediterranean more than doubled in the first two months of 2023

In the first two months of 2023, the number of irregular border crossings reported by national authorities increased to 28 130, roughly in line with the same period last year. The Central Mediterranean and Western Balkan routes remain the most active.

In February, nearly 13 800 irregular border crossings were detected at EU’s external borders*, slightly more than a year ago.

Currently, more than 2 400 standing corps officers and Frontex staff are taking part in various operational activities. They support EU member states and neighbouring countries with irregular migration and other challenges at the external borders.Key developments

  • 28 130 irregular border crossings detected in the first two months of 2023
  • Central Mediterranean route accounts for two of every five irregular border crossings into the EU
  • Nationals of Syria, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Afghanistan and Pakistan account for the largest number of detections

Top migratory routes

The Central Mediterranean was the most active route in the first two months of this year with nearly 12 000 irregular border crossings, double the figure from a year ago. In February, the number of detections on this route tripled from a year ago to 7 000.

Meanwhile, the Western Balkans saw a significant decrease in crossings in February thanks to the alignment of Serbia’s visa policy with EU requirements. However, it remains the second most active migratory route into the European Union with nearly 8 400 detections.

The number of irregular crossings in the English Channel towards the UK increased in 2023 to more than 5 600, up 82% compared with the same period in 2022.

Note: The preliminary data presented in this statement refer to the number of detections of irregular border-crossing at the external borders of the European Union. The same person may cross the border several times in different locations at the external border.

*The figure includes other less active migratory routes not mentioned in this press release. The final figures may be higher due to delayed reporting.