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Drop in arrivals to the EU on three main migratory routes in January

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In January, there were nearly 8000 detections of illegal border crossings on the three main migratory routes into the EU.

Central Mediterranean

4400 migrants reached Italy by sea in January, a drop of 16% from a year ago and of nearly 46% from December. Most of the departures occurred from Libya.

The main reason for the decrease in migratory flows last month was worsening weather conditions on the Central Mediterranean, which made it nearly impossible to make a sea crossing for a larger part of the month.

Nationals from Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and Nigeria were the top three nationalities among the migrants arriving to Italy.

Eastern Mediterranean

Meanwhile, the number of migrants reaching the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean reached 1760 in January, 18% less than the previous month, also because of poor weather conditions.

The monthly numbers in Greece plunged since the implementation of the EU/Turkey statement in March 2016.

Syrians, Algerians and Palestinians accounted for the largest number of migrants on this route. Interestingly, in January nationals from the Democratic Republic of Congo were the fourth largest group detected on the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean.

Western Balkans

The number of detections of illegal border-crossings in the Western Balkans in January was in line with the figure from December, but 97% less than in January 2016.

Nationals from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria accounted for the majority of migrants on this route.


The data presented in this statement refer to the number of detections of illegal border-crossing at the external borders of the European Union. The same person may attempt to cross the border illegally several times in different locations at the external border.