EU illegal migrants hit five-year low as Spain becomes main gateway Europe


The European Union has recorded the lowest number of migrant arrivals in five years, following moves to curb crossings to Italy and Greece, new figures have shown.

But figures published by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) showed that while overall illegal migration to the EU has fallen to 150,000 a record number were now arriving in Spain.

"The number of irregular migrants using the Western Mediterranean route to reach Europe doubled for the second year in a row to 57,000, making it the most active migratory route in 2018," the agency said in a statement.

It means Spain is the new gateway into Europe for migrants, overtaking Greece and Italy, with arrivals more than doubling from the 2017 total of 22,414. Some 769 people died attempting to reach the Spanish coast in 2018, many in barely seaworthy boats.

The pace shows little sign of slowing, with Spain rescuing 401 migrants from the Mediterranean in the first two days of 2019, even though overall migration figures have fallen significantly across Europe.

The EU received about half as many illegal migrants in 2018 than at the peak of the migration crisis in 2015, mainly due to a "dramatic fall in the number of migrants taking the Central Mediterranean route to Italy", according to Frontex.

Italy, which registered a drop of 80 per cent, has taken a significantly harsher tone on migration under its populist government, sworn in at the beginning of June.

In mid-June, Matteo Salvini, the country's hardline Interior Minister refused entry to the migrant NGO rescue-ship Aquarius which had 629 illegal migrants on board.

The ship, also refused entry by Malta, was eventually allowed to dock in Valencia by Spain's recently installed left-wing Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in one of his first big tests in the role.

"It is our obligation to help avoid a humanitarian catastrophe," Mr Sánchez said at the time.

Spain's growing migrant numbers have drawn criticism at home, bolstering the far-right party Vox who won a surprise 12 seats in Andalusia's recent elections after campaigning on an anti-immigrant platform.

On Saturday, Spanish right-wing newspaper ABC blamed the rise in migrant numbers on "the Sánchez effect".


More Related News

Italy lets 10 migrants off rescue boat as row drags on
Italy lets 10 migrants off rescue boat as row drags on

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini Italy on Saturday cleared 10 migrants to leave the rescue boat Sea-Watch 3, Italian media reported, while pressing on with plans to ban the vessel from Italian waters. The vessel rescued 53 migrants drifting in an inflatable raft off the coast of Libya on Wednesday. On Thursday, Salvini, leader of the far-right League party, ordered Italian law enforcement to prevent the boat from entering Italian waters.

Exclusive: U.N. chief calls on EU to raise 2030 climate goal to 55%
Exclusive: U.N. chief calls on EU to raise 2030 climate goal to 55%

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on the European Union to aim for a 55% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, far more than the bloc's current target for a 40% reduction. In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, seen by Reuters, ahead of a summit of EU leaders, Guterres said the world's largest economic bloc should lead by example to avert the worst effects of global warming and limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Next week's gathering of the 28 EU heads of state is the last before a U.N. meeting on global climate talks in September.

Florida governor signs bill banning sanctuary policies
Florida governor signs bill banning sanctuary policies
  • US
  • 2019-06-14 17:49:12Z

All law enforcement agencies in Florida will have to cooperate with federal immigration authorities under a bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday during a ceremony that often felt like a campaign rally for him and President Donald Trump. The bill prohibits local governments from enacting "sanctuary" polices that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. It will require law enforcement to honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers for undocumented immigrants who are arrested or convicted of a crime.

Iran denies tanker attacks as tensions soar
Iran denies tanker attacks as tensions soar
  • World
  • 2019-06-14 11:51:17Z

Iran dismissed as "baseless" on Friday US accusations it executed twin attacks that left two tankers ablaze in the Gulf of Oman, raising fears of conflict in the strategically vital waterway. China called for all sides to "resolve the conflict through dialogue" as oil prices jumped

Kamala Harris Runs for Queen
Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I'm going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats' retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, there will be no Medicare for All, no free college, and no "democratic socialism." Democratic candidates are racing to the legislative left for the sake of programs they'll never implement and legislation they'll never pass. The promises they use to fire up the progressive base (and inflame red America) are promises they simply cannot keep.Kamala Harris is smart enough to understand...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.