The annual analysis points to a 92 per cent drop in the number of illegal border-crossings by migrants from outside of the Western Balkans region to roughly 19,000 from more than 260,000 in 2016.
According to Frontex Western Balkans Q1 report, in the first three months of this year the number of illegal border-crossings by non-regional migrants fell 10 per cent compared to the same quarter of last year, as well as in the last quarter of 2017.
The continued pressure along the Greece-Albania-Montenegro-Bosnia and Herzegovina-Croatia sub-route remains indicative of migrants trying to bypass existing security measures along the main route via Serbia.
In all of 2017, the six Western Balkan countries reported 631 cases of document fraud, the second highest number since data collection began in 2009.
As in previous years, non-regional migrants continued to attempt to enter the Western Balkans across the southern common borders with Greece and Bulgaria before heading north and trying to exit the region largely at the northern common borders of Hungary, Croatia or Romania with Serbia.
Afghan and Pakistani were the two main reported nationalities, accounting for roughly 32% and 30%, respectively, of the overall number of detections involving non-regional migrants. Syrians ranked third in 2017 accounting for 8% of the total.
The largest number of illegal border-crossings of regional migrants occurred at the common land borders between Greece, Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia [FYROM].
Cooperation between law enforcement authorities and enhanced border control measures were key to reducing migration pressure in the region.
Firearms and drugs smuggling
Cannabis, mostly grown in the region and trafficked internally or to the EU, was the main smuggled narcotic substance in the region last year. More than 23 tonnes were detected by Albania, Montenegro Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. There were also 209 detections of smuggled firearms and ammunition. Most of them were detected in Serbia, followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Last year, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia [FYROM] dismantled two organised migrant-smuggling groups arranging the transportation of migrants from Greece towards Serbia and onwards.
Read the Western Balkans Annual Risk Analysis report.
Read the Western Balkans Q1 report.