News Release

Situation at EU external borders – detections down in September


The number of illegal border crossings at Europe’s external borders fell by 21% in the first nine months of this year to 72 500*, largely because of a drop in arrivals in Eastern and Western Mediterranean, according to preliminary calculations.

In September, the number of illegal border crossings was 19% lower than in the previous month, reaching over 9 200.

Central Mediterranean

In September, the Central Mediterranean remained the most active migratory route into Europe with nearly 3 300 detections, although the figure nearly halved from the previous month.

In the first three quarters of this year, the total number of illegal crossings on this route more than doubled to above 24 400.

Tunisians have accounted for two out of every five illegal crossings via the Central Mediterranean, while Bangladeshis were responsible for one in five.

Western Mediterranean

There were nearly 2 300 detections of illegal border crossings in the Western Mediterranean in September, 9% more than in the previous month.

The total for the first nine months of 2020 stood at nearly 11 000, or 40% less than in the same period in the previous year.

Algerians accounted for nearly two-thirds of all detections on this route this year, while Moroccans were the second most represented nationality.

Eastern Mediterranean

According to the most recent data, there were around 780 detections of illegal crossings reported in September on the Eastern Mediterranean route, some 40% less than in the previous month.

In the January-September period, the total number of detections dropped by almost three-quarters to around 15 300.

Nationals of Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey accounted for the largest number of detected migrants.

Western Balkans

There were over 2 200 detections of illegal border crossings on the Western Balkan route in September, 22% above the figure in August.

In the first three quarters of this year, more than 15 900 migrants were detected at EU’s border with the Western Balkan countries, 100% more than in the first nine months of 2019.

More than half of the irregular migrants detected in the region so far this year were Syrian, while Afghans accounted for another quarter of all detections at the EU borders here.

*The figure includes other less active migratory routes not mentioned in this press release. The final figures may be higher due to delayed reporting. Data as of 13 October 2020.

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.

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