Europe's leaders are scrambling to address a growing migrant crisis as record numbers steam into the region in hopes of escaping violence and political instability across North Africa and the Middle East.
Europe's border agency recorded 340,000 illegal entries into the European Union (E.U.) between January and July, according to European border agency Frontex.
The number of migrants detected at E.U. borders tripled in July from a year earlier at 107,500, marking the highest number of entries in one month since data was first collected in 2008.
The majority of people illegally entering the E.U. are fleeing Afghanistan and war-torn Syria, Frontex says.
The border agency plans to release statistics for August, a month dominated by migrant tragedy headlines, next week.
A number of boats off the coast of Libya capsized over the past four weeks, with bodies washing up on Turkish and Libyan shores. Over 2,500 refugees and migrants have died or gone missing while trying to cross the Mediterranean since January alone, according to statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Still, this has not deterred those desperate to reach the continent.
More than 300,000 have made perilous boat journeys across the sea, in hopes of reaching Europe, the UNHCR says. It already tops the 219,000 crossings recorded throughout all of 2014 and has put significant pressure on peripheral E.U. states such as Greece, which has already seen over 200,000 people land on its shores this year. About 110,000 others have arrived in Italy.
Most are launching off the shores of Libya, after fleeing Eritrea and Nigeria, Frontex says.
Europe's crisis by numbers
|567,785||Pending EU asylum claims (June)|
|340,000||Illegal entries into the EU (January-July)|
|306,010||Pending German asylum claims (June)|
|300,000||Mediterranean crossings in 2015|
|2,500||Mediterranean migrant fatalities in 2015|
Hungary has clocked a significant proportion of illegal crossings by land, with more than 102,342 entries detected by Frontex from January to July this year. The country has come under fire for controversial tactics in curbing the migrant flow. Hungary is hurrying to complete a barbed wired fence along its border with Serbia, and temporarily refused migrants access to a main train station in its capital Budapest that would take them through to Western European states such as Germany and Austria.
Asylum claims across Europe have reached astonishing levels. As of June, 567,785 people were awaiting decisions on their asylum applications from the union's 28 member states, according to European statistics agency Eurostat.
Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has been processing the bulk of the applications, with 306,010 awaiting approval. Germany has become a popular destination for migrants, prompting dangerous journeys across Europe to reach its borders. The government, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, estimates it would bookmark 3.3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) for refugee benefits in 2016.
Some leaders have discussed mandatory quotas, requiring each country to take a similar proportion of refugees and migrants in order to alleviate pressure on countries such as Italy and Greece.
European ministers have set an emergency meeting to discuss the migrant crisis on September 14.