According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (also known as Frontex)'s new report, member States reported 150 000 illegal border-crossings along the EU’s external borders, which represents a 27% decrease compared with 2017.
With this decline, which has been maintained for three years, Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of Frontex, considers that, even if the pressure persists, we cannot speak of an acute migration crisis at the external borders. The agency, however, said it had repressed 191,000 migrants in 2018 against 183,000 in 2017.
The decrease recorded in 2018 mainly concerns migratory flows in the central Mediterranean, while a significant increase is recorded at the level of the western Mediterranean road and a lower increase on the eastern side.
Frontex thus notes a "significant increase" in the number of crossings from Morocco to Spain (55,307 people, an increase of 157%). This increase is explained by the fact that Morocco has become more "attractive" than Libya for sub-Saharan migrants (Mali, Guinea), Algerians and Moroccans seeking to enter Europe. Due to the increased firmness of migration policies in some European countries such as Italy, Spain is experiencing strong migratory pressure with more than 57,000 migrants, double the previous year. Frontex states that the number of illegal Moroccan and sub-Saharan migrants has increased fivefold in one year.
The European Border and Coast Guard Agency reports a further decline in the Central Mediterranean route from Libya to Italy or Malta by 80% in 2018 compared to 2017. Noteworthy, Tunisia and Eretria replaced Libya as the main country of departure.
Frontex Annual Report 2018::