Commentary Borders

Frontex chief: EU external border still under pressure

The EU isn't currently facing a migration crisis. However, its external border is still under pressure, said Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri.

European Border and Coast Guard agency Frontex recorded the lowest number of illegal crossings on the EU external border in five years. There were nearly 205,000 fewer crossings last year than in 2017, which is a 27 percent drop.

Even though right now we are not in the middle of migration crisis at the external border, the pressure is still evident, Leggeri told the media. While the number of Moroccans outnumbered last year both Iraqis and Afghans, the most illegal immigrants are still Syrian nationals. Also, every fifth immigrant stated an age under 18 years.

The reason behind the drop in the number of migrants coming to the EU is mainly an 80 percent decrease in a number of crossing points on the route from Northern Africa to Italy. On the other hand, the number of illegals who arrived from Africa to Spain doubled compared to 2017. A similar development has been recorded by Frontex on the route from Turkey to Greece.

Overall, the number of migrants arriving in Europe has fallen by 90 percent since 2015, when it amounted to more than a million and caused severe problems in Greece and Italy. EU member states managed to repatriate 148,121 people last year.

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