In February, the number of detections of illegal border crossings on Europe’s main migratory routes fell 42% from the previous month to around 6 200*. The total number illegal border crossings for the first two months of the year reached 16 900, up 27% from the same period of 2019.
The Eastern Mediterranean migratory route continued to account for the largest share of detections of illegal border crossings into Europe last month, although the number of migrants taking this path into Europe fell 42% from January to around 2 500**. The February figure does not reflect the increased number of migrants who had sought to enter Greece since 1 March.
In the first two months of 2020, almost 7 000 illegal border crossings were detected on this route, or 16% more than a year ago.
Afghans were the top nationality detected on this route, accounting for more than one out of every three irregular migrants detected, followed by Syrian and Turkish nationals.
The number of irregular migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean in February fell by nearly three-
quarters from the previous month to slightly more than 450. Because of a higher number of detections in January, the total number of detections in the first two months stood at 2 200.
The top three nationalities detected on this route were nationals of Bangladesh, Algeria and Ivory Coast.
Western Mediterranean Sea
The number of migrants arriving in Europe via the Western Mediterranean Sea route in February was mostly unchanged from the previous month at close to 1 200. In the first two months, the total stood at slightly above 2 300, or less than half of the year-ago figure.
Algerians accounted for nearly half of the migrants detected on this route in January and February.
There were more than 1 250 detections of illegal border crossings recorded on this route in February, less than half the figure from the previous month. However, in the first two months, the number of illegal border crossings doubled from the same period of last year to nearly 3 800.
Nationals of Syria and Afghanistan accounted for most of the migrants detected on this route.
*The figure includes other less active migratory routes not mentioned in this press release.
**February 2020 data does not include the number of detections in Cyprus.
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.