Local fishermen assist refugees arriving with a rubber dinghy on the Greek island of Lesbos (Lesvos), Greece | Photo: EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU
Local fishermen assist refugees arriving with a rubber dinghy on the Greek island of Lesbos (Lesvos), Greece | Photo: EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU

The illegal immigration situation in the EU has "significantly improved," with 30,000 irregular crossings of EU borders since the start of 2019, Fabrice Leggeri, the director of the European Union border agency Frontex, said in a recent interview.

"The highest number of [arrivals were] in Greece, where migrants are either crossing the land border from Turkey, or by sea. The Aegean Sea is once again the number one route," Leggeri said in an interview with German daily Welt. 

Even though the number of arrivals has decreased, Leggeri said that "the European Union is still under pressure, and will remain under pressure in the coming decades." He added: "Therefore, the EU and its member states must also closely collaborate with countries of origin to make life more viable there. Politics shouldn't limit itself to just border protection." 

EU's goal is to have a rescue center in Tripoli 

Regarding the Mediterranean, Leggeri said the EU's goal is to have a rescue centre in Tripoli, "so that migrants rescued at sea can be brought there and treated adequately." 

"There needs to be a well-trained Libyan Coast Guard, and we are supporting its training. But that will only be possible if the situation in Libya stabilizes and fundamental human rights are respected," he said. "The training that we are offering Libya is focused not only on search and rescue... but also on the fight against human trafficking on land and on respecting human rights." 
 

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