Rescue operation by the Ocean Viking off Libya | Photo: Twitter SOS MEDITERRANEE ITA
Rescue operation by the Ocean Viking off Libya | Photo: Twitter SOS MEDITERRANEE ITA

The European agency Frontex reported Thursday that illegal border crossings at Europe's external borders in January fell by almost half from the previous year to about 5,800.

In January 2021, illegal border crossings at Europe's external borders numbered 5,800, half the number seen in the same month of 2020, Frontex noted in a statement released Thursday, February 18.

The EU agency said that the drop was mainly due to fewer arriving via the Mediterranean route.

Mediterranean data

The central Mediterranean route saw a 51% drop in border crossings compared with the previous year, with only 868 landings on Europe's shores via this route.

Guinea and Ivory Coast were the top two countries of origin for migrants arriving via this route.

On the Western Mediterranean route, in January there were 600 irregular crossings of the border, a drop of 48% compared with the previous year.

Algerians and Moroccans accounted for 90% of all reported arrivals on this route in January, while Moroccans were the second most represented nationality.

"According to the most recent data, there were around 750 detections of illegal crossings reported in January on the Eastern Mediterranean route, less than one-fifth of the figure from a year ago. Nationals of Syria, Nigeria and Cameroon accounted for the largest number of detected migrants," the statement noted.

Balkan route and Western Africa

"There were nearly 2,200 detections of illegal border crossings on the Western Balkan route last month, down 14% from January 2020. Syrians and Afghans were the top two main nationalities on this migratory route," the statement added.

On Western Africa, it said that nearly "2,100 irregular migrants arrived on the Canary Islands in the first month of this year, more than twice the figure from January 2020. However, the number was not included in the monthly total for illegal border crossings into the European Union because it is a preliminary figure."

 

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