Frontex Risk Analysis Report for Q1 2014 published

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Compared to the first quarter of 2013, in Q1 2014 Italy reported a sevenfold increase in illegal border-crossings, while numbers in Greece more than doubled. Detections at Italy’s sea border represented almost 50% of all detected illegal border-crossings that quarter. For the first quarter since FRAN data collection began, Malians were the most reported nationality at that maritime border, followed by Eritreans and Syrians.
By the end Q1 2014, migratory movements across Italy’s sea border resumed quickly after the winter seasonal decline. Of note was the speed at which migration appeared to regain momentum: in March the number of arrivals in Italy and Malta reached the exceptionally high levels of summer 2013. Also, analysis of the different waves of migrant boats that have targeted Italy’s sea border since November 2013 suggests development of the logistical & organisational capacities of the criminal groups which facilitate the gathering and embarkation of migrants along Libya’s coast.
Increased operational activity in the Eastern Mediterranean led to a fall in detections of illegal border-crossing. Since Bulgarian authorities started a special police operation at the Bulgaria-Turkey border, migratory movements originally displaced by Greek operation Aspida from Greece’s border to Bulgaria’s fell substantially. The fact that the overall number of illegal border-crossings on the Eastern Mediterranean route was still higher than 2013 can be attributed to detections made in the Aegean Sea.
Hungary reported the highest number of illegal border-crossings at a land border in Q1 2014. Although the number of detections at the Hungary-Serbia border has been stable since Q4 2013, a significant increase was reported compared with Q1 2013.
The land border with the biggest increase of illegal border-crossings, compared to both Q4 2013 and Q1 2013, was around Spain’s enclaves: Ceuta and Melilla. The number of persons entering Spain via that route tripled comparing to Q1 2013. While migrants with sufficient funds used the services of people-smuggling networks to reach Spain, hidden in motor vehicles, the majority of those trying to reach Spanish territory opted to simply climb the fences, often in large groups. The attempted borders breaches at Spain’s enclaves were part of a general shift from sea borders to land borders on the Western Mediterranean route. The reasons for that may include strengthened surveillance at sea.
This period saw an increasing number of asylum applications. Although this indicator shows a clear decline at the beginning of each year, the annual total asylum seekers has risen by almost 20% annually since 2010. Simultaneously, asylum seekers increasingly focus on top destination countries. Since 2010, the proportion of applications for asylum in Germany and Sweden grew from around 33% to 50% of the total reported to FRAN.
In Bulgaria, asylum applications fell by approximately 33% after peaking in Q4 2013. This fall coincided with a drop in detections of illegal border-crossing at the Bulgaria-Turkey land border. In other Member States, asylum applications remained fairly stable. Syrians submitted one in five applications for international protection, being the leading nationality for the third consecutive quarter. Syrians haven’t followed the same seasonal pattern as other nationalities, which showed a substantial decline in applications during winter. Since the start of the war in Syria, a rather insignificant drop in applications during winter is normally followed by a larger increase during the following summer, with the respective curve resembling more upward stairs than the usual waves. Around 75% of Syrian asylum seekers submitted their application in the top asylum countries (Germany, Sweden, Bulgaria and the Netherlands).
Compared to Q1 2013, document fraud fell in Q1 2014 in terms of detections from third countries on entry to the EU and Schengen zone. Spain, Italy, France and Greece together accounted for more than half of all cases at the EU level. The long-term upward trend in Spain continued in Q1 2014, with Spain reporting more detections than ever, mainly at Madrid airport and Ceuta/Melilla.

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