The total number of arrivals to Europe by the end of December 2016 has been recorded as 387,739. This is in stark contrast to the 1, 046,599 arrivals recorded in 2015. The decrease in numbers of arrivals can be observed across many of the countries which saw the highest numbers of arrivals in 2015. In Greece 2016 brought 176,906 arrivals compared to the 857,363 recorded in 2015, a 79% decrease, while Italy saw a slight (16%) rise in numbers of arri-vals, from 155,842 in 2015 to 181,436 in 2016.
Political factors had a significant impact on flows within the region in 2016. The EU-Turkey agreement from March 18 brought migration flows through the Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Balkan route to a relative standstill whereas arrivals to Italy increased significantly from April to May form 9,146 to 19,925, an increase of 118% . A similar increase was noted during the same period in 2015 when arrivals increased by 604%, from 2,283 in March to 16,063 in April. Aside from policy changes, this increase in arrivals in 2016 is likely to be related to improved weather conditions giving rise to more favorable traveling conditions. In Greece a significant drop in arrivals was noted after March, when 27,123 were recorded compared to 3,934 arrivals reported in April. This represent a dras-tic contrast (+77%) to the same period in 2015, 6,785 recorded in March and 12,029 recorded in April.
As for the Western Balkans route, arrivals to Hungary decreased by 95% due to the border regulations implement-ed on 5 July 2016. From January to July 17,550 new arrivals were recorded, between July and December only 1,118 were recorded, a decrease of 94%.
Looking at cumulative arrivals, the number of migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan is decreased and the num-ber of African nationals, particularly Nigerians and Eritreans, increased. Following the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement, at the end of May, migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan made up 68.5% of arrivals, but by the end of December that number dropped to just 41%, with an increasing share of arrivals being occupied by Nige-rians (10%) and Eritreans (6%). Importantly, this breakdown varied by country of first arrival. While Greece received more migrants from Syria (45%), Afghanistan (23%) and Iraq (15%), Italy received a much greater variety of nation-alities, from Nigeria (20%), Eritrea (11%), the Gambia (6%) and other countries.