In January, the number of detections of illegal border crossings on Europe’s main migratory routes fell 41% from the previous month to around 8 800*. This was comparable to the total from January 2019.
The Eastern Mediterranean migratory route continued to account for the largest share of detections of illegal border crossings into Europe, even though the total number fell by 58% from the previous month to nearly 3 400**. This was close to the number of detections in January 2019.
Afghans were the top nationality detected on this route, accounting for nearly half of the irregular migrants, followed by Syrian and Turkish nationals.
The number of irregular migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean in January more than doubled from December 2019 to nearly 1 500. This was also a six-fold rise from January 2019.
The top three nationalities detected on this route were nationals of Algeria, Ivory Coast and Bangladesh.
Western Mediterranean Sea
The number of migrants arriving in Europe via the Western Mediterranean Sea route fell by a quarter from the previous month to nearly 1 150. This was 72% less than in January 2019.
Algerians were the most represented nationality on this route in the first month of 2020.
There were more than 2 000 detections of illegal border crossings recorded on this route in January, less than half the total reported the previous month.
Nationals of Syria accounted for more than three-quarters of the migrants detected on this route.
*The figure includes other less active migratory routes not mentioned in this press release.
**January 2020 data does not include the number of detections in Cyprus.
Note: The preliminary 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.