Frontex Published Risk Analysis 2023/2024
13 October 2023
Riehle_Cornelia_Neu_SW.jpg Cornelia Riehle LL.M.

In its annual Risk Analysis for the year 2023/2024, Frontex provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges at the EU’s external borders, especially irregular migration, secondary movements and returns as well as cross-border crime. According to the report, in 2022, about 332,000 illegal border-crossings at the EU’s external borders on entry were reported by Member States, the highest number since 2016 (and +66% compared to 2021). Looking at the migratory routes, the report identifies the Western Balkan, Central Mediterranean, and Eastern Mediterranean routes as the top three routes used for illegal border-crossings. Syrian, Afghan, and Tunisian migrants attempted border crossings most often. At the same time, in 2022, a record number of people smugglers (over 15,000) were reported to Frontex.

In this context, the report underlines the need for effective deployment of the Standing Corps. Furthermore, it calls for new remedies to counter rising cross-border crime and migrant smuggling.

With regard to returns of third-country nationals, the report states that the gap between return decisions and effective returns could not be closed in 2022. According to Frontex, a common EU system for returns is needed. It also points to the Policy Document Towards an Operational Strategy for More Effective Returns that was issued in January 2023 and provides solutions for the digitalisation of return management as well as the improvement of data and statistical evidence on return.

Looking ahead, the report expects a further increase in illegal migration to Europe in 2023/2024 considering the growing socio-economic push factors in numerous countries of origin. In light of Russia's continuing attack on Ukraine, the instrumentalization of migrants by Russia and Belarus is likely. Ultimately, the situation may be a driver for organised cross-border crime, especially the smuggling of drugs, tobacco, and illicit goods. Europe’s current labour shortage may also lead to increased trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation purposes. Unaccompanied minors arriving at Europe’s external borders are another concern.

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EU Frontex


Cornelia Riehle LL.M.

Academy of European Law (ERA)

Criminal Law

Deputy Head of Section