News Release


Migratory flows in February: Drop in Italy, stable in Greece and Spain

2018-03-15

In February, 3 400 irregular border crossings were detected on the four main migratory routes into the EU, down nearly three-quarters from the year-ago period.

In the first two months of this year, the total number of irregular border crossings almost halved to 12 000, in large part due to lower migratory pressure on the Central Mediterranean route.

Central Mediterranean

The number of migrants arriving in Italy via the Central Mediterranean route in February fell to below 800, less than one-tenth of the figure from the same month of 2017. The total number of migrants detected on this route in the January-February period fell by 61% to 5 200.

As the number of migrant boats leaving the Libyan shores plunged last month due to increased activities of the Libyan Coast Guard and poor weather conditions.

So far this year, Eritreans have been the largest group of migrants detected on this route, followed by nationals of Tunisia.

Western Mediterranean

Last month, the number of irregular migrants reaching Spain fell by a quarter compared to a year ago to 1 050. In the first two months of 2018, there were 2 500 irregular border crossings on the Western Mediterranean route, close to the figure from a year ago.

Nationals of Guinea accounted for the highest number of arrivals in Spain, followed by those from Morocco and Mali. In line with seasonal patterns, the number of Algerians has decreased in the winter period. 

Eastern Mediterranean

In February, the number of irregular migrants taking the Eastern Mediterranean route, mainly reaching the Greek islands, stood at 1 600, roughly in line with the number from February 2017. In the first two months of this year, more than 3 900 migrants entered the EU through the Eastern Mediterranean route, 11% more than in the same period of 2017.

The largest number of migrants on this route in the first two months of the year were nationals of Turkey and Syria.

Western Balkans

The number of detections on the Western Balkan route remained relatively low in February, when roughly 150 migrants were detected, due to close cooperation on border control among the countries of the region.

Note: The 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.

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