News Release


Situation at EU external borders in May – Detections rebound from record lows

2020-06-15

Due to a technical problem, we must restate the figures for Eastern Mediterranean. Because of additional incidents reported, the figures for the Central Mediterranean have also been updated.

These changes also affected to the total number of detections in May.


In May, the number of detections of illegal border crossings on Europe’s main migratory routes rebounded from the previous month’s record lows to nearly 3 500*.

The total number of illegal border crossings for the first five months of 2020 reached 30 800, 9% below the figure from the same period of last year.

Eastern Mediterranean

There were some 100** detections of illegal border crossings on the Eastern Mediterranean route in May. Because of delayed reporting the figure is likely to rise, but will remain among the lowest on record.

In the January-May period, more than 11 500 illegal border crossings were detected on this route, or 34% fewer than a year ago.

Afghans remained the top nationality detected on this route so far this year.                     

Central Mediterranean

The number of irregular migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean in May rose 75% from the previous month to around 1 300. The total for the first five months surpassed 5 700, nearly three times more than in the same period of 2019.

The top three nationalities detected on this route Bangladeshi, Sudanese and Ivoirian.

Western Mediterranean Sea

The number of migrants arriving in Europe via the Western Mediterranean Sea route in May nearly quadrupled from April to more than 650. In the first five months, the total stood at above 3 700, or less than half the year-ago figure.

Nearly half of the migrants detected on this route this year were Algerians.

Western Balkans

There were more than 900 illegal border crossings recorded on this route in May, 10 times the number detected the previous month. In the first five months of 2020, the total increased by 50% from the same period of last year to more than 6 900.

*The figure includes other less active migratory routes not mentioned in this press release. The final figures may differ due to delayed reporting.

**May 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.

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