News Release


Migratory situation in March – Eastern Mediterranean accounts for most of all irregular migrants

2019-04-09

In March, the number of detections of illegal border crossings on Europe’s main migratory routes fell by 7% from the previous month to nearly 4 600, mainly due to a drop in migrant arrivals in Spain. The total for the first quarter of 2019 was 13% lower than a year ago at around 17 900.

Eastern Mediterranean

The Eastern Mediterranean route accounted for two out of every three irregular migrants detected at EU borders in March. The number of migrants taking this route last month increased by 10% from February to more than 3 000.

In the first three months of this year, the total number of detections in this region also rose by 10% form a year ago to above 9 000. 

One out of three 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.

Western Mediterranean

The Western Mediterranean saw the number of irregular migrants in March halve from the previous month to around 450.

Because of a large number of arrivals at the beginning of the year, the total for the first quarter of 2019 rose to more than 5 450, or 54% above the figure from the same period of last year. 

Nationals of Morocco accounted for the largest number of detected migrants on this route in the first quarter.

Central Mediterranean

The Central Mediterranean saw a rise in the number of irregular migrants last month after falling to a nine-year low in February, reaching 225.

Nevertheless, the total for the first three months of the year was 92% lower from a year ago at around 480.
Tunisians and Algerians were the most represented nationalities reaching Italy in the January-March period.

Western Balkans

There were nearly 650 detections of illegal border crossings recorded on this route in March. The total for the first three months reached nearly 2 300 or 81% 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.

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