In the first nine months of 2018, the number of irregular border crossings into the EU via the top four migratory routes fell by a third from a year ago to about 100 100, mainly because of lower migratory pressure on the Central Mediterranean route.
In September, some 12 900 irregular crossings were detected on the main migratory routes into the EU, 21% fewer than in the same month of last year.
For the third consecutive month, the Western Mediterranean migratory route accounted for half of all detections of illegal borders crossings into the EU. The number of migrants reaching Europe via this route reached nearly 6 500 in September, four times the number from the same month of last year.
In the first three quarters of 2018, there were some 35 500 irregular border crossings on the Western Mediterranean route, more than double the figure from the same period a year ago.
Nationals of Morocco, Guinea and Mali accounted for the highest number of irregular migrants crossing this route this year. People from sub-Saharan countries represented more than three-quarters of all detections in the Western Mediterranean.
In September, the number of irregular migrants taking the Eastern Mediterranean route stood at some 5 400, 25% less than in September 2017. But mainly because of a significant increase of irregular crossings in recent months on the land border with Turkey, the total number of migrants detected on the Eastern Mediterranean route in the first nine months of the year rose by 40% to around 40 300.
The largest number of migrants on this route so far this year were nationals of Syria and Iraq, although for the second consecutive month Afghans accounted for the most monthly arrivals.
The number of migrants arriving in Europe via the Central Mediterranean route in September fell to about 900, down 85% from September 2017. The total number of migrants detected on this route in the first three quarters of 2018 fell to roughly 20 900, 80% lower than a year ago.
So far this year, Tunisians and Eritreans were the two most represented nationalities on this route, together accounting for more than one-third of all the detected migrants there. They were trailed by nationals of Sudan, Pakistan and Nigeria.
The main migratory route in the Western Balkans from Serbia to Hungary and Croatia continues to see low numbers of irregular migrants. However, a parallel route via Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as from Serbia to Bosnia Herzegovina, has seen continuing migratory pressure.
Note: The data presented in this statement 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.