Voice of Europe.
Although illegal migrant penetrations into Europe decreased between January and February this year, the overall trend is still on the rise.
From January to February, the number of attempted illegal border crossings across the European Union declined by 42%, to approximately 2,500 migrants, according to a report by the Hungarian news portal Remix. However, attempted crossings were nevertheless 27% higher than they had been during the same period in the previous year, according to a report by Frontex, which is affiliated with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
Looking at Greece, in January and February nearly 7,000 migrants were stopped trying to cross their border with Turkey — 16% higher than the previous year. And Frontex noted that these numbers do not reflect the latest migrant surge along the Greek border that began at the end of February, when Turkey announced that it would no longer stop migrants who wanted to cross its territory in an attempt to enter Greece. Over a third of the migrants who were detained here were Afghans; Syrians and Turks were the next two largest groups.
Migrants arrested while crossing the Central Mediterranean Sea fell by nearly 75% from January to February; approximately 450 were discovered, bringing the total for the period to 2,200. Most of these were Bangladeshis, Algerians, and from the Ivory Coast.
Along the Western Mediterranean Sea, the numbers remained steady, holding at approximately 1,200 per month. Most of these were Algerians.
In the Western Balkans, approximately 1,250 migrants were detained in February, which was a greater than 50% decline since January. Nevertheless, the total was 3,800, which was twice the amount who were detained along this route during the same period last year. Most of those arrested were Syrian or Afghani.
Even before Turkey’s announcement in February, the Hungarian government had been warning for several months that they were expecting a new surge in migrants along the Balkan route which could end up leading to a dangerous mass invasion by military-aged men on the same level as or worse than the 2015 crisis, as previously reported by Voice of Europe.