The number of detections of irregular border crossings at the European Union’s external borders rose by 18% in the first eight months of 2023 to over 232,350, the highest total for the January-August period since 2016, according to preliminary data released by the EU border agency Frontex on Thursday. .
The increase was driven primarily by the number of arrivals through the Central Mediterranean, which remains the main migratory route into the EU and accounts for one of every two detections at EU borders.
The number of irregular crossings on this route – 114562 – rose by 96% compared to the first eight months of 2022, Frontex said.
The agency added that the pressure from Tunisia and Libya “could persist in the coming months”.
Italy has borne the brunt of arrivals, with the tiny Sicilian island of Lampedusa under particular strain.
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