The arrival of irregular immigrants to the EU is at its lowest level since 2013

The idea of a Europe besieged by illegal immigration has for years been monotonously repeating again and again in campaigns of forces as diverse as the supporte

The arrival of irregular immigrants to the EU is at its lowest level since 2013

The idea of a Europe besieged by illegal immigration has for years been monotonously repeating again and again in campaigns of forces as diverse as the supporters of Brexit on the United Kingdom, the League of Matteo Salvini in Italy, or the Governments reactionaries in Hungary and Poland. The latest data published by Frontex described, however, a different reality that contradicts the rhetoric of invasion: according to the eu border agency, their number has fallen by 92% compared to the peak of 2015, and is at levels of 2013.

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Spain promotes a stable system in the EU to welcome migrants as the ‘Aquarius’ arrivals by boat fall almost 20% with respect to 2018 and 75% of migrants drowning at the Southern border are never found

The controversies surrounding the distribution of migrants rescued by an NGO close to the shores of the EU in the last few summers have been a useful tool for the strategy of the populist parties at the time of keeping artificially afloat the feeling of an increasing flow of irregular migrants towards Europe. But the statistics of Frontex is relentless: in 2019 they came to the EU 139.000 immigrants, a decrease is very pronounced when compared with the 1.8 million people went to the community club in 2015, in a full wave of migration by the war in Syria.

The numbers can have a reverse, less positive. Accustomed to respond with more effectiveness under the pressing pressure of a crisis, the EU runs the risk of relax the search of a stable system for the reception of irregular immigrants who still has not been equipped after the failure of the mechanism of quotas, which threatens to put to the test again its seams in the event of aftershocks similar to those of 2015.

According to Frontex, the number of irregular immigrants fell in 2019 compared to the previous year by 58% in the western Mediterranean sea —the path that Spain is the door of entry— until the 24,000 arrivals, with moroccans and algerians as the largest nationalities on board of the boats. In the central Mediterranean, also reduced the figure, this time in a 41% amounting to 14,000, mainly citizens of Tunisia and Sudan. While the flank of the eastern Mediterranean —Greece and Cyprus between destinations— it was the only upside: they were detected 82.000 irregular immigrants, 46% more. In total, the fall in regard to 2018 was 6%.

The border agency draws a clear downward trend, but warns that in the second quarter of last year arrivals for the route east rebounded to its highest level since the signing of the agreement EU-Turkey. In that treaty, signed in march of 2016, the Twenty-eight agreed to pay to Ankara 6,000 million euros to the Turkish authorities extremaran surveillance to curb the outflows from their territory towards the EU and to accept the receiving of the migrants up to the Greek islands.

Among the novelties collected by Frontex in 2018, the agency cites the increase in the number of women heading to the EU —account for 23% of the total compared to 19% last year—, as well as the growth of the afghan migrants (+167%), which accounted for a quarter of all arrivals to the continent. In a moment the situation of unaccompanied minors have been placed in the center of the debate in countries like Spain, the EU countries recorded between January and October the arrival of some 14.600 children under the age of 14 years, almost a thousand more than in all 2018.

Updated Date: 09 January 2020, 15:00

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