News Release

Migratory situation in May – Arrivals in Europe at level similar to previous month


In May, the number of detections of illegal border crossings on Europe’s main migratory routes was roughly in line with the previous month at 6 500. The total for the first five months of 2019 was 31% lower than a year ago at around 32 400.

Eastern Mediterranean
The Eastern Mediterranean route accounted for nearly half of irregular migrants arriving at EU borders in May. It remained the busiest migratory route into Europe with 3 100 detections.

In the first five months of this year, the total number of detections in this region was also down by one-fifth from a year ago to close to 16 700.

One out of four migrants detected on this route were nationals of Afghanistan, usually arriving by sea. Migrants from Turkey remained the second most represented nationality on this route, although their numbers fell in May as land crossings decreased.

Western Mediterranean Sea
The number of irregular migrants taking the Western Mediterranean Sea in May rose by 60% from the previous month to almost 1 500.

The total for the January-May period stood at nearly 8 000, roughly in line with the figure from the same period of last year.

Nationals of Morocco, Guinea, Mali and Algeria accounted for the largest number of detected migrants on this route in the first five months of 2019.

Central Mediterranean
The number of migrants passing through the Central Mediterranean in May rose to above 1 000, nearly four times the very low figure in April.

The total for the first five months of the year was 85% lower from a year ago at nearly 2 000.

Tunisians, Pakistanis and Algerians were the most represented nationalities reaching Italy in the January-May period.

Western Balkans
There were more than 500 detections of illegal border crossings recorded on this route in May. The total for the first five months reached nearly 4 300 or 92% more than a year ago.

Nationals of Afghanistan and Iran 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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