A migrant boat reaches the port of Lampedusa. August 9, 2020 | Photo: ANSA/ELIO DESIDERIO
A migrant boat reaches the port of Lampedusa. August 9, 2020 | Photo: ANSA/ELIO DESIDERIO

European border agency Frontex has reported a 14% drop in the number of "illegal border crossings" at Europe's external borders in the first eight months of 2020 to 60,800 compared to the same period last year. In August, numbers were down 30% on July, the agency said on September 10.

The number of "illegal border crossings" at Europe's external borders went down 14% in the first eight months of this year to 60,800, according to the EU border agency Frontex.

The decrease is mainly due to a drop in arrivals in the eastern and western Mediterranean, according to preliminary calculations released by the agency on September 10. 

In August, the number of crossings fell by 30% from the month of July to nearly 9,200, Frontex said. 

Frontex regularly releases data on the number of detected "illegal border crossings".

Data on Mediterranean routes 

The central Mediterranean route in August accounted for more than half of all the border crossings reported at EU external borders at 4,800, although the figure dropped by a third compared to the previous month. 

However, in the first eight months of the year the total number of illegal crossings on this route increased to nearly 20,600, almost three times the low figures a year ago, Frontex said.

Tunisians have accounted for two out of five irregular crossings via the central Mediterranean this year, the agency added.

As far as the western Mediterranean, there were nearly 1,600 detections of illegal border crossings in August, down 7% from the previous month. 

The total for the first eight months of 2020 was almost half the figure from the same period in 2019 at 8,200. 

According to the most recent data, Frontex said that there were some 900 detections of illegal crossings registered in August on the eastern Mediterranean route, more or less in line with the total from the previous month. 

Numbers down from 2019 data

Recent monthly totals are significantly below the levels reached a year ago, the border agency said in its report. In the first eight months of 2020, the total number of detections dropped by nearly two-thirds to around 14,200. 

Citizens of Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey accounted for the largest number of detected migrants. 

The numbers of the Balkan route 

In August, there were nearly 1,500 detections of illegal border crossings on the western Balkan route, down 32% from July. In the January-August period, almost 13,350 migrants were detected at the European Union's border with western Balkan countries, nearly twice the total in the first eight months of 2019. 

Over half of the irregular migrants detected in the region so far this year were Syrian while Afghans accounted for another quarter of all detections at EU borders in the area, Frontex said.
 

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