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The number of migrants arriving in Greece and through the Western Balkans is increasing

Source: Ekathimerini  Photo: Reuters

Athens, August 14, 2019 – The number of illegal migrant arrivals on the islands of the eastern Aegean is on the rise compared to last year, according to data released by the European Union border agency, Frontex.

“In the first seven months of this year, the total number of detections in the Eastern Mediterranean was down 6 percent from a year ago to almost 28,200,” it said. Frontex said that despite the overall decrease, arrivals on the Aegean islands increased by a quarter compared to the same period last year. Most of the migrants detected on this route were nationals of Afghanistan.

Greek Deputy Minister for Migration Policy, Jorgos Kumucakos, said that migrants’ flow had increased by 44 percent this year over the same period in 2018, ANA-MPA reports. Kumucakos pointed out that a new “corridor” of migrant and refugee flows between Alexandroupolis and Samothrace was formed last month, adding that this puts additional pressure on the already difficult situation in the Greek islands.

As for the Western Balkan route, Frontex said there were 460 detections of illegal border crossings recorded in July while the total for the first seven months reached nearly 5,800. “Double the figure from a year ago,” Frontex said.

At the same time, Frontex said almost 2,900 entered Europe via the Western Mediterranean route – a 22 percent rise compared to June. The vast majority of these migrants came from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Moreover it noted an increase of 25 percent compared to last year via the Central Mediterranean route for the first seven months of this year – with migrants mainly from Tunisia, Sudan and Pakistan.

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