In Q2 2015, all indicators showed increasing trends compared with the situation a year ago. Compared with Q2 2014, detections of illegal border-crossing at the external borders increased by more than 140% and the number of asylum applicants – by two thirds. In relation to the previous quarter all indicators except for illegal border-crossing at BCPs went up, which was traditionally expected after the winter months. Furthermore, five important indicators (asylum, apprehended facilitators, detections of illegal border-crossing between BCPs, illegal stay and effective returns) reached their highest ever recorded levels since data collection for the respective indicators began.
While the migratory pressure at the EU’s external borders in general has further increased, its distribution among particular border sections has also been shifting. For instance, compared to other routes, the share of detections of illegal border-crossing detected at the EU external borders with Turkey has substantially increased and reached the highest level in FRAN data collection history. The increase was mostly reported from the Eastern Aegean Sea, where the majority of migrants were Syrian and Afghan nationals. Lesbos, Chios and Kos were among the most targeted islands.
Also irregular migration on the Western Balkan route has reached its highest level since Frontex started its data collection. After a substantial decline in detections of illegal border-crossing in the Western Balkans in March 2015 (which was mainly caused by fewer Kosovo* migrants on their way to Western Europe), irregular migration flow composed of Afghans, Syrians, Pakistanis and other non-regional nationalities has reached new record levels by June 2015. Subsequent to the reporting period, the level of irregular migration on the Western Balkan route hit new records in two consecutive months (July and August).
After the winter season, migratory flows across the Central Mediterranean Sea have gained momentum, exceeding the already high number of detections reported during the second quarter of 2014. The number of Eritrean migrants returned to the same level as one year ago, while the number of Syrians detected in the Central Mediterranean represented only around one-third of the level reported back in Q2 2014.
In the reporting period, detections of illegal stay were almost 40% higher than during the same quarter of 2014 and amounted to more than 140 000 persons reported in the EU/Schengen area, i.e. the highest number of detections of illegal stay since FRAN data collection began in 2007. Most persons detected for illegal stay were Syrians, Afghans and Eritreans. This composition of nationalities suggests that by and large they had previously entered the EU crossing the border illegally.
In line with the larger number of migrants illegally arriving in the EU, the figure related to detections of facilitators of irregular migration has also reached the highest level since FRAN data collection began. In Q2 2015, their number was around 20% higher than in Q1 2015. Among other reasons, this was due to more Syrian, Serb, and Albanian facilitators detected by Member States.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence