MIXED MIGRATION FLOWS TO EUROPE
In the first quarter of 2021, a total of 17,391 of migrants and refugees were registered arriving through the three Mediterranean routes and the Western African Atlantic route to Europe, which is 7 per cent less than the 18,641 arrivals registered in the same period in 2020, and 3 per cent less than the 17,889 registered in Q1 of 2019. Arrivals in Q1 of 2021 decreased by 53 per cent compared to the previous reporting period (37,454 in Q4 2020). This significant decrease somewhat coincides with a deterioration of weather conditions during the first months of the year.
Around (43%) of all registered individuals in Q1 of 2021 arrived in Europe through the Central Mediterranean route to Italy and Malta (7,484). Another 37 per cent reached Spain through Western Mediterranean and Western African Atlantic routes (6,518) and the remaining 19 per cent travelled through the Eastern Mediterranean route to Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria.
Compared to the same quarter of 2020, the share of arrivals through the Central Mediterranean route (CMR) and the Western Mediterranean (WMR) and Western African Atlantic route (WAAR) to Spain have increased, while the share of the arrivals through the Eastern Mediterranean route (EMR) have significantly decreased. As a comparison, the share of arrivals through the Eastern Mediterranean Route represented 53 per cent of all arrivals to Europe in Q1 2020.
According to available data from national authorities so far and without considering arrivals to Spain, Tunisia and Côte d’Ivoire are the most frequently reported country of origin among all registered arrivals to Europe (14 and 13% respectively), followed by many others from sub Saharan Africa, North Africa and Asia.
Arrivals registered on the Central Mediterranean route (CMR) in the first quarter of 2021 by sea were 7,484, which is 29 per cent less than the 10,547 arrivals in Q4 2020, but twice the number of those registered in Q1 of 2020 (3,929), and almost 10 times more the arrivals registered in Q1 of 2019 (761). Main nationalities at arrival were Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire, Bangladesh. During the first quarter of 2021, 5,904 migrants disembarked back to Libya,2 and at least 237 perished while crossing the Central Mediterranean.
Arrivals to Spain – which was the leading country for arrivals registered by land and by sea in 2020 (41,861) – were 6,518 in Q1 2021. This is 20 per cent more than the arrivals registered in Q1 of 2020 (5,473). Arrivals in the first quarter of 2021 are nevertheless less than one third than those in fourth quarter of 2020 (22,816). More than half (53%) of the arrivals registered in Spain so far in 2021 were through 1 Data on nationalities at arrival are not available for Spain, Bulgaria and Cyprus and are not definitive for Greece. the Western African Atlantic Route (WAAR) to the Canary Islands, and the rest were through the Western Mediterranean route (WMR) to mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands. In Q1 2021, 3,458 migrants and refugees crossed the WAAR, which is more than the double than arrivals at the Canaries in the same reporting period in 2020 (1,477). During Q1, at least 115 persons perished or disappeared at sea while on their way to Spain (of which 33 died in the Atlantic Ocean).
Arrivals through the Eastern Mediterranean route (EMR) continue to be the lowest in the region in the first quarter of 2021, when 3,389 migrants and refugees were registered at arrival in Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria. This is three times less than the 10,722 arrivals registered in the same period of 2020, and 17 per cent less than the arrivals in Q4 of 2020 (4,091). Somalia, Afghanistan and Democratic Republic of Congo are the top three 2 Source: IOM Libya. 3 Source: IOM’s Missing Migrant Project, missingmigrants.iom.int nationalities reported on the EMR. On the same route, the Turkish Coast guard (TCG) reported to have apprehended 2,365 persons in the first quarter of the year, while trying to cross the sea between Turkey and Greece irregularly. Interceptions by the TCG were 37 per cent lower than those in Q4 2020 (3,775).
Registrations of migrants intercepted by national authorities in the Western Balkans, in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania and Kosovo* were 21,038 in Q1 of 2020, representing a decrease of 37 per cent when compared with the previous quarter (33,514 in Q4 2020) and 11 per cent less than the transits and apprehensions registered in the first quarter of 2020 (23,718). Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were the most frequently reported countries of origin through the Western Balkans between January and March 2021.