BRUSSELS, May 16 (UPI) -- The number of people identified attempting to illegally enter European Union nations in 2013 rose sharply over 2012, the border agency Frontex reported Friday.
In its annual risk analysis, Frontex revealed 107,000 detections of undocumented migrants in 2013, compared to 72,500 in 2012. One in four migrants hailed from Syria, it said.
The 2013 figure is still lower than in 2011, when 141,000 undocumented migrants arrived in Europe as a result of the Arab Spring movement.
The situation is particularly severe in southern Italy, regarded as the quickest destination to reach across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa or the Middle East. In 2013, 25,500 Syrians were detected attempting to enter without proper documentation. Formal applications by Syrians to enter European Union countries doubled in 2013 to 50,096.
After Syria, the largest groups attempting to enter EU countries were Eritreans, Afghans and Albanians. Hungary experienced a sharp increase in undocumented crossings after it relaxed visa restrictions, and an increase of Chechens was likely sparked by rumors Germany would favor Chechen applications, the Frontex analysis said.