In January, 8 300 irregular border crossings were detected on the four main migratory routes into the EU, down 7% from a year ago.
The number of migrants arriving in Italy via the Central Mediterranean route in January rose to more than 4 800, double the figure from the previous month, when the smuggling activities were affected by fighting near the departure areas and poor weather. The monthly total was roughly in line with January of last year.
According to preliminary data, Eritreans were the largest group of migrants detected on this route, followed by nationals of Pakistan and Tunisia. In recent months, Frontex also noted an increase in the number of Libyans making their way across the Mediterranean.
Last month, Spain saw a slight respite from the recent record numbers of irregular crossings, which fell by more than a third from December 2017. Nevertheless, the 1 300 arrivals was more than 20% higher than a year ago.
Nationals of Guinea accounted for the highest number of arrivals in Spain, followed by those from Morocco, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali. In line with seasonal patterns, the number of Algerian nationals has decreased in the winter period.
In January, the number of irregular migrants taking the Eastern Mediterranean route, mainly reaching the Greek islands, fell 43% from the previous month to 1 850. This was comparable to the number of detections from January 2017.
Syrians and Iraqis were the most represented nationalities on this route.
The number of detections on the Western Balkan route remained relatively low in January, when roughly 300 migrants were detected, due to close cooperation on border control among the countries of the region.
Note: The data presented in this statement refer to the number of detections of irregular border-crossing at the external borders of the European Union. The same person may attempt to cross the border several times in different locations at the external border.