A total of 3,123 migrants and refugees arrived in Europe through different land and sea routes in May 2020, which is 88 per cent more than the 1,658 registered in the previous month (April 2020), 2 times less than the 7,360 sea and land arrivals registered in May last year, and 4 times less than the 13,043 arrivals registered in May 2018, and almost 9 times less than the 26,585 reported in May 2017.
Arrivals registered in Europe in the first five months of 2020 were 23,422, which is 24 per cent less than arrivals registered in the same period last year (30,924) and 31 per cent less than arrivals between January and May of 2018 (44,924).
There were 1,726 registered on the Central Mediterranean route (55%), arriving by sea to Italy and Malta, in May 2020. Another 1,105 arrivals registered on the Western Mediterranean route (35%) leading to Spain in the same period and 292 were registered in Bulgaria and Greece through the Eastern Mediterranean route (only 9% of total registered arrivals in Europe). Hence, this is the second time since February 2019 that Eastern Mediterranean route is surpassed by both the Western and Central Mediterranean routes as the main route taken by migrants and refugees travelling to Europe by sea and land. In the same reporting period of the last year (May 2019), the Eastern Mediterranean route was recorded as the most active route with 4,230 arrivals (58% of the total), followed by the Western Mediterranean route with 1,972 registered arrivals (27%) and the Central Mediterranean route with 1,158 registered arrivals (16%). In May 2018, 40 per cent of all arrivals in Europe were registered on the Eastern Mediterranean route (5,143), while arrivals on the on Central Mediterranean were 3,963 (30%) and on Western Mediterranean route 3,937 (30%).
Italian authorities reported 1,654 arrivals in May 2020. Arrivals in this period have significantly increased in comparison with April 2020 (671) and were more than two times higher than the 782 arrivals registered in May 2019, but were almost three times less than the 3,963 reported arrivals to Italy in May 2018. The most frequently registered nationalities3 of migrants arriving to Italy by sea in 2020 so far were Bangladesh (19%) and Côte d’Ivoire and Tunisia (13% each), followed by Sudan (8%), Algeria (7%), Morocco (6%) and other African and Southern Asian countries. According to official data, about 38 per cent of all arrivals in Italy departed from Tunisia, 36 per cent departed from Libya and the rest departed from Algeria (22%), Greece (3%) and Albania (1%). In addition, there were 72 registered arrivals in Malta in May 2020, which is slightly more than the 66 arrivals registered the previous month (April 2020). According to available data from national authorities, Sudan was the most frequently reported nationality at arrival in 2020 so far (32%), followed by Bangladesh (16%) and Somalia (14%). Arrivals to Malta are reported to have departed from Libya.
A total of 1,105 migrants and refugees were registered entering Spain in May 2020, 34 per cent more than the previous month (824 in April 2020), 43 per cent less the 1,972 registered in May 2019 and about four times less than the 3,937 registered in the same period of 2018. Among the total arrivals to Spain in 2020, 83 per cent arrived by sea: this includes 34 per cent of total arrivals to the Canary Islands, 49 per cent to the peninsular coasts of the region of Murcia and of the Comunidad Valenciana and to the Balearic Islands and 1 per cent to the autonomous city of Ceuta. The remaining 17 per cent arrived by land to the autonomous cities of Melilla (15%) and Ceuta (2%) on the north coast of Africa. According to the available data, provided by the Spanish Ministry of Interior, the most common country of origin among the arrivals by sea in 2020 was Algeria (30%), followed by Morocco (13%), Guinea (12%), Mali (10%), Côte d’Ivoire (9%), Senegal (6%) and others.
Hellenic Authorities reported 228 new arrivals in May 2020, which represents an increase compared to previous month of April when 77 new arrivals were registered. May arrivals in Greece are about 90 per cent less than the 2,314 registered in March 2020), about 93 per cent less than the 3,153 registered in May 2019, and 21 times less than the 4,802 reported in May 2018. According to available data,4 the most frequently registered nationality of arrivals to Greece by sea in 2020 so far was Afghanistan (39%) followed by the Syrian Arab Republic (25%), Somalia (6%), the Democratic Republic of Congo (5%), and others. Authorities in Bulgaria registered 64 new arrivals in May 2020, which is more than three times the arrivals registered in April (20), and about five time less of the arrivals registered in May 2019 (318).
In addition to first-arrival countries, after a significant decrease of the apprehensions registered in the previous reporting periods (March – April 2020), authorities in countries and areas in the Western Balkans region reported an increase in monthly registrations of new migrants and refugees. Hence, reported apprehensions in May 2020 were 4,011 which is almost three times the 1,576 reported in April 2020, almost three times less as compared to the 9,827 reported in May last year, and about 33 per cent less than the 6,001 reported in May 2018. Serbia (6,076), North Macedonia (5,374) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (5,047) represent together 55 per cent of all 29,778 arrivals registered in the region since the beginning of 2020. Afghanistan continues to be the most frequently reported nationality among migrants and refugees intercepted transiting the Western Balkans recorded in May 2020, which has been the case each month since October 2019, and particularly in Montenegro (49%), Croatia (27%) and Serbia (24%). Nationals of Pakistan are also prominent among those recorded transiting the region, particularly in Croatia (31%) and Slovenia (24%). Morocco nationals are the third most frequently registered nationality in the Western Balkans by the end of May 2020, and the most common nationality of those registered are registered in Albania (48%) and Slovenia (30%).