More and more illegal immigrants are coming to Europe through Turkey and Greece. The amount of people coming through the “eastern Mediterranean” went up by 500% at the beginning of the year. This is according to Frontex, the European agency in charge of the exterior Schengen borders.
“Since the 1st of January, there has been a total of 100,000 illegal crossings of the EU’s exterior borders, compared to 40,000 in the same period last year”, the Frontex boss, Fabrice Leggeri, said during a Paris meeting with journalists on Wednesday.
This is explained by “a very large influx of Kosovars” between January and March, meaning “a lot of pressure on the Hungarian border”.
But “two immigration routes are particularly busy: the central Mediterranean route, from Libya to the South of Italy, and the Eastern Mediterranean route, from Turkey to Greece”, he said.
For the latter, the increase has been spectacular, as much as “550% for the Aegean sea route”.
This means an increase in migrant profiles, as “those coming from the Eastern Mediterranean route are mainly asylum seekers”. Around half are Syrians, who are almost sure to get refugee status in Europe, Mr Leggeri said.
On the other hand, the Frontex boss said there are “almost no” Syrians coming through Italy. They have been replaced by migrants from sub-Saharan regions, “who are mainly illegal economic migrants”.