The number of illegal border crossings at Europe’s external borders fell by 14% in the first eight months of this year to 60,800*, largely because of a drop in arrivals in Eastern and Western Mediterranean, according to preliminary calculations.
In August, the number of illegal border crossings fell by 30% from the previous month to nearly 9,200.
In August, the Central Mediterranean route accounted for more than half of all illegal border crossings at EU external borders at 4,800, although the figure dropped by a third from the previous month. In the first eight months of this year, the total number of illegal crossings on this route rose to nearly 20,600, nearly three times the low figures a year ago. Tunisians have accounted for two out of every five illegal crossings via the Central Mediterranean, while Bangladeshis were responsible for one in five.
There were nearly 1,600 detections of illegal border crossings in the Western Mediterranean in August, 7% less than in the previous month. The total for the first eight months of 2020 was nearly half the figure from the same period in the previous year at 8,200. The number Algerians, who accounted for nearly two-thirds of all detections on this route this year, was six times the figure from a year ago. Moroccans were the second most represented nationality on this route.
According to the most recent data, there were some 900 detections of illegal crossings reported in August on the Eastern Mediterranean route, roughly in line with the total from the previous month. Recent monthly totals are well below the levels from a year ago. In the first eight months of 2020, the total number of detections dropped by nearly two-thirds to around 14,200. Nationals of Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey accounted for the largest number of detected migrants.
There were nearly 1,500 detections of illegal border crossings on the Western Balkan route in August, 32% fewer than in July. In the January-August period, almost 13,350 migrants were detected at EU’s border with the Western Balkan countries, nearly double the total in the first eight 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 preliminary data 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.
*The figure includes other less active migratory routes not mentioned here. The final figures may be higher due to delayed reporting.