New data from the EU’s border protection agency claim 7,900 migrants entered Europe through the Eastern Mediterranean route in the first quarter of 2018 — 30 percent more than in the same period of 2017.
FRONTEX, in a new report, also revealed the number of undocumented migrants reaching the Greek islands in March was 3,700; this is 13 percent fewer than in March 2017.
The agency puts the overall increase down to “a rise of irregular crossings on the land borders with Turkey”.
The largest number of migrants on this route in the first three months of the year were Syrian and Iraqi nationals.
Elsewhere, there was a total of 6,200 irregular border crossings recorded on the four main migratory routes into the EU, down 63 percent from the same month in 2017.
In the first quarter of 2018, the total number of irregular border crossings halved to 18,800, mainly because of lower migratory pressure on the Central Mediterranean route.
The Western Balkans route saw only a small number of detected illegal crossings, with around 100 migrants found, FRONTEX said. This was “due to close cooperation on border control among the countries of the region,” it added.