In February, the number of detections of illegal border crossings on Europe’s four main migratory routes fell 58% from the previous month to 3 560, in large part due to poor weather conditions in parts of the Mediterranean Sea. The total for the first two months of the year was roughly in line with a year ago at 11 800.
The Eastern Mediterranean route accounted for the largest percentage of detections of irregular migrants in February. Nevertheless, the number of migrants on this route fell 31% from the previous month to 2 250. Because of a high number of arrivals in January, the total number of detections on this route rose by one-third in the first two months of 2019 compared to a year ago to almost 5 500.
Two out of every five detected migrants in this corridor were nationals of Afghanistan, usually arriving by sea. One out of every five was of Turkish nationality, mainly crossing the land border.
Rough weather conditions led to an 80% drop in the number of irregular migrants reaching Spain in February to 820. However, due to a high number of arrivals in January, the total for the first two months of 2019 stood at more than 4 900, or 83% above the figure from the same period of last year.
Nationals of Morocco accounted for the largest number of detected migrants on this route.
The Central Mediterranean continued to experience falling numbers of irregular migrants. There were 60 migrants detected on this route in February, 70% less than in January. This was the lowest monthly number in nine years. The total for the first two months of the year reached 260, or 95% less than in the corresponding period of 2018, continuing the decreasing trend that began in the summer of 2017.
Bangladeshis and Tunisians were the most represented nationalities reaching Italy.
There were more than 420 detections of illegal border crossings recorded on this route in February. The total for the first two months reached nearly 1 200 or 40% more than a year ago.
Nationals of Afghanistan accounted for the largest share of migrants detected on this route.
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.