Twice as many illegal migrants along ‘Balkan route’ this year

On the so-called Balkan route, 14,734 illegal attempts to cross the border were reported this year, or 104% more than at the same time last year. The Western Balkan countries reported 2,900 such attempts in May, which is twice as many as in May 2020. [Shutterstock/ Edward Crawford]

Večernji List newspaper reported on Thursday that the number of people illegally crossing the external borders of the European Union in the first five months of this year reached 47,100, an increase of nearly 50% compared with the same period last year.

On the so-called Balkan route, 14,734 illegal attempts to cross the border were reported this year, or 104% more than at the same time last year. The Western Balkan countries reported 2,900 such attempts in May, which is twice as many as in May 2020. 

Croatia lies on the Balkan route, and the majority of migrants come from Syria and Afghanistan, using it as a transit country on their way to other destinations in the EU. Even most asylum seekers, who arrive in Croatia from refugee camps in Greece and Italy under an EU relocation programme, eventually leave the country. Figures show 67 or 26.4% out of 250 migrants having stayed in Croatia. 

Slovenia is reported to have returned 9,871 illegal migrants to Croatia last year and 607 in the first four months of this year. In the first quarter of 2021, 3,267 migrants illegally crossed the Croatian border, which is the same as in 2020, while compared with May 2019 their number increased by 17%. Most illegal migrants come from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the burden of migration, Večernji List reported. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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