Corona blocked routes to the EU: fewer illegal migrants

Around 87,000 migrants and refugees arrived in the EU this year. Less than before – also because Corona blocked paths

It made headlines in the summer as the “Shame of Europe” – the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. The situation there is still devastating for thousands of people, but now all eyes are on the Canary Islands: more people landed there this year than in all of Greece.

All in all, however, the EU border protection agency Frontex reports the strongest drop in the number of migrants and refugees in ten years. The corona pandemic acted as a brake lever: curfews and increased police controls in the countries of origin and transit made many escape routes more difficult to pass.

Around 87,000 illegal border crossings have been registered in the EU since January. The arrivals fell most dramatically in the eastern Mediterranean. In the same period of the previous year, three times more refugees had arrived on the Greek islands or Cyprus.

More about the Balkans

On the other hand, significantly more migrants were counted on the EU’s external border with the Western Balkans. It was almost 20,000 people this year – twice as many as in the same period in 2019.

The number of arrivals in Italy, Malta and Spain also increased. By far the largest group of those who have arrived here come from the Maghreb countries, i.e. from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.


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