Migratory flows in March: Fewer arrivals in Italy. In March, 6 200 irregular border crossings were detected on the four main migratory routes into the EU, down 63% from the same month of last year. 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 number of migrants arriving in Italy via the Central Mediterranean route in March fell to below 1 400, down 88% than in the same month of 2017. The total number of migrants detected on this route in the first three months of 2018 fell to roughly 6 600. The drop represents a plunge of nearly three-quarters compared to a year ago.
So far this year, Eritreans have been the largest group on this route, accounting for one of every four detected migrants. They were followed by nationals of Tunisia, who departed from their home country.
In March, the number of irregular migrants taking the Eastern Mediterranean route, mainly reaching the Greek islands, stood at 3 700, 13% fewer than in the year-ago period. In the first quarter of this year, more than 7 900 migrants entered the EU through the Eastern Mediterranean route, 30% more than in the same period of 2017. The increase was mainly caused 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 nationals of Syria and Iraq.
Last month, the number of irregular migrants reaching Spain stood at nearly 900, in line with the figure from March 2017. In the first three months of 2018, there were 3 400 irregular border crossings on the Western Mediterranean route, also close to the level from a year ago.
Nationals of Morocco accounted for the highest number of arrivals in Spain this year, followed by those from Guinea and Mali.
The number of detections on the Western Balkan route remained relatively low in March, when roughly 100 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.