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Frontex: Situation at EU external borders – Detections rise from record lows a year ago

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2021-05-17

The number of illegal border crossings at Europe’s external borders in the first four months of 2021 reached 36 100, about a third higher than year ago when irregular migration dropped due to travel limitations linked to the outbreak of COVID, according to preliminary calculations.

In April, the number of illegal border crossings reached over 7 800, a four-fold rise from the record low recorded in the same month of last year.

Western Africa

More than 1000 irregular migrants reached the Canary Islands in April, three times the total from the same month of last year.

In the January-April period, nearly 4 500 irregular migrants arrived on the Canary Islands, more than double the total from the same period of 2020.

Nationals from sub-Saharan countries, most claiming to be from Mali and Morocco, accounted for the largest number of arrivals.

Central Mediterranean

The number of migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean doubled in April to almost 1 550 compared to a year ago.

Between January and April of this year, the total number of illegal crossings on this route more-than-doubled to 11 600.

Nationals of Tunisia and Ivory Coast accounted for the two main nationalities on this migratory route.

Western Mediterranean Sea

There were fewer than 300 detections of illegal border crossings in the Western Mediterranean in April, around 70% more from the same month of 2020.

The total for the first four months of 2021 stood at over 3 200, or 5% more than in the same period in the previous year.

Algerians accounted for three of every four detections on this route this year, while Moroccans made up most of the remaining arrivals.

Eastern Mediterranean

According to the most recent data, there were around 1 850 detections of illegal crossings reported in April on the Eastern Mediterranean route, a 12-fold rise from the same month last year.

In the January-April period, the total number of detections fell 58% to over 4 800.

Nationals of Turkey and Syria accounted for the largest number of detected migrants.

Western Balkans

There were an estimated 3 100 detections of illegal border crossings reported so far on the Western Balkan route in April, a 33-fold rise from the record low a year ago amid the COVID outbreak.

In the first four months of this year, 11 600 migrants were detected at EU’s border with the Western Balkan countries, nearly double the total from the same period of 2020.

The two main detected nationalities were Syrians and Afghans.

*The figure includes other less active migratory routes not mentioned in this press release. The final figures may be higher due to delayed reporting.

Note: The preliminary 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.