Human TraffickingMigrationNews

Situation at EU external borders – Arrivals picking up, still down for the year

In the first seven months of this year, the number of illegal border crossings at Europe’s external borders fell by 15% from a year ago to 47 250*.

After reaching record lows in April due to restrictions related to COVID-19, the number of irregular migrants detected at Europe’s external borders had been rising over the last three months.

In July, the number of illegal border crossings rose by nearly a third from the previous month to 8650. The Central and Western Mediterranean regions saw twice as many arrivals as in June.

Central Mediterranean

In July, the number of migrants reaching Europe using the Central Mediterranean route more-than-doubled from June to 4 650, in large part due to a significant rise in the number of irregular migrants departing from Tunisia.

In the first seven months of this year, the total number of illegal crossings on this route rose to 13150, up 155% from the very low figures a year ago.

Tunisians and Bangladeshis made up the largest portion of the detections in the Central Mediterranean.

Western MediterraneanThere were around 1 500 detections of illegal border crossings in the Western Mediterranean in July, 84% more than in the previous month.

Despite the rise last month, the total for the first seven months of 2020, was less than half the figure from the same period in the previous year at 6 100.

The number Algerians, who accounted for one out of every two detections on this route this year, was seven times the figure from a year ago. Moroccans were the second most represented nationality on this route.

Eastern MediterraneanAccording to the most recent data, there were some 400 detections of illegal crossings were reported in July on the Eastern Mediterranean route. This is 44% lower than the previous month, although the July total is expected to rise as final figures are calculated. Nevertheless, recent monthly totals are well below the levels from a year ago.

In the first seven months of 2020, the total number of detections halved to around 12 900.

Nationals of Afghanistan and Syria accounted for the largest number of detected migrants.

Western Balkans

There were 2 550 detections of illegal border crossings on the Western Balkan route last month, 40% fewer than in June. The number of migrants crossing the Western Balkans has increased due to higher numbers of people who had originally landed in Greece and the easing of COVID measures by the national authorities in the region.

In the January-July period, almost 11 300 migrants were detected at EU’s border in the region, 80% more than in the first seven months of 2019.

Two of every three migrants detected in the region so far this year were Syrian, while Afghans accounted for 17% of the border crossings.

*The figure includes other less active migratory routes not mentioned in this press release. The final figures may differ due to delayed reporting.

Note: The preliminary data presented in this statement refer to the number of detections of irregular border-crossing at the external borders of the European Union. The same person may attempt to cross the border several times in different locations at the external border.