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Frontex: FRAN Quarterly - Quarter 4 (October–December 2015)

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The number of detections of illegal border-crossings between border crossing points (BCPs) in the fourth quarter of 2015 reached 978 300, its highest level since data exchange under the Frontex Risk Analysis Network (FRAN) began in 2007.

In previous years, the adverse weather and rough sea conditions slowed down migration across the Mediterranean Sea at the onset of autumn. In 2015, however, migrants continued to arrive in record numbers in Greece in the final months of the year. In the fourth quarter of last year there were nearly 484 000 detections on the Eastern Mediterranean route, mainly on the islands in the Aegean. Among the migrants, 46% claimed to be Syrian and 28% said they were from Afghanistan.

The flow of migrants had a direct knock-on effect on the Western Balkan route, where people who had arrived in Greece were recorded for the second time re-entering the EU. In the October-December period, there were 466 800 detections of illegal border-crossings associated with the migratory flow from Serbia to Croatia.

Illegal border-crossings at the external borders may be attempted several times by the same person. This means that a large number of the people who were counted when they arrived in Greece were again reported when entering the EU for the second time through Hungary or Croatia.

Meanwhile, the number of detections of illegal border-crossing in the Central Mediterranean fell by a third. The percentage of African migrants on this route increased, with Syrian nationals, who had taken this route in the past, now tending to go to Greece instead.

Overshadowed by the unprecedented migration flows in Greece was the fact that the level of irregular migration in the Western Mediterranean doubled in the fourth quarter compared to a year before. The number of illegal border-crossings in the area reached nearly 2 800, more than in any other fourth quarter in the past.

FRAN Quarterly reports are prepared by the Frontex Risk Analysis Unit to provide a regular overview of irregular migration at the EU’s external borders, based on the irregular migration data exchanged among Member State border-control authorities