Schengen Data 2022

Today (09.03.23) and tomorrow, the „Schengen Council“ will meet. Home affairs ministers will discuss the future of visa policy. The Presidency and the Commission will brief ministers on the overall state of the Schengen area and the implementation of the priority actions defined by the Council in June 2022.  Please find the agenda highlights here. We publish the Schengen Barometer +  which the Service of the Commission has issued for the preparation of the delegations. Input was provided by the JHA Agencies (Frontex, EUAA, eu-LISA, Europol and Eurojust) and information available to the Commission.

We are happy to give access to this information, also against the background that EU is deliberately withholding data from IOM and UNHCR.

The takeaway messages come in the same alarming moods as ever before:

• 2022 was characterised by resuming international travel on a large scale, making the Schengen area one of the most visited destinations in the world.
• Irregular migration is at its highest since 2016 and 66% higher than in 2021, although far from the levels of 2015. This is the second year in a row with an increased number of irregular arrivals. The Western Balkan route accounted for nearly half of the total. Nevertheless, this number is on a decreasing trend in the recent period amid the Western Balkans partners taking steps to align their visa-policies with the EU.
• Asylum applications are also at highest level since 2016 and up by more than half from 2021. Around 20% of all asylum applications were lodged by third-country nationals coming from visa-free countries. In 2022, the overall number of Eurodac hits was the highest since 2017 and increased by 22% compared to 2021. While this is a notable increase, it falls short of that of irregular border crossings (+66%) and asylum applications (+48%).
• Main threats to the Schengen area relate to trafficking in human beings, drugs trafficking, firearms trafficking, organised property crime and terrorism.
• Record amounts of drugs have entered the EU in 2022, in the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam or through south European countries. This trend appears to continue in 2023.
• Cross-border cooperation actions implemented in 2022 revealed to be key for a stronger and more resilient Schengen area.

But Frontex and Agencies are still unsatisfied:

  • Data from eu-LISA reveals that, on average, only 45% Schengen visas issued between January-July 20225 have been checked at the border within the Visa Information System (VIS), of which only 42% are checked with biometrics (fingerprint). According to Frontex, not all Member States are systematically consulting the Schengen Information System (SIS) at the external borders when performing border checks. And:
  • Frontex sais that the overall EU-level staffing deficit was estimated over 5000 border guards in 2020 and 6-7000 in 2021.

Beside detailled descriptions of migration routes into EU, there is a table showing number of irregular border crossings (not attempts) and distribution of Frontex officers:

Please find the document here.

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