Annual Risk Analysis 2013 (Frontex)
According to Frontex, the number of people trying to get into the EU dropped by around a half in 2012. Some 73.000 people were detected in 2012, down from around 114.000 in 2011.
The year 2012 saw a 50% decrease in the number of illegal border crossings detected at EU level compared to the year before. Moreover, at around 73 000, it was the first year since systematic data collection started in 2008 that the total figure for the year stood at less than 100 000.
The main reasons for these drops were two-fold. On the Central Mediterranean sea route to the EU, 2011 was marked by heavy influxes from Libya and Tunisia as a result of the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings. Those flows had fallen off by the end of 2011, and although arrivals on that route grew steadily throughout 2012, they totalled only around 10 300 by year-end.
Meanwhile, on the Eastern Mediterranean route, migrant flows through the previous hot-spot of the Greek-Turkish land border were largely stemmed by increased efforts by the Greek authorities. The effects of the Aspida, or ‘Shield,’ operation by Greece had a dramatic effect on inflows.
Weekly arrival rates of up to 2 000 were slashed to just 10 entries a week by October due to the deployment of 1 800 additional officers. While this drop in arrivals was offset to some extent by increased detections at both the maritime border in the Aegean Sea and at the Turkish-Bulgarian land border, the figures from these displacements fell far short of accounting for the difference.
This was due in part to increased efforts by the Turkish and Bulgarian authorities. However there is believed to be pent-up migratory pressure inside Turkey representing a risk of resurgent irregular migration on that route when the Aspida operation ends. Consequently, looking ahead, the probability of a resurgence of irregular migration on this route remains high.
Meanwhile, on the Western Mediterranean route from North Africa to Spain, detections of illegal border crossing fell by almost a quarter (-24%) on 2011. However, at 6 400, arrivals on this route were still above levels recorded in previous years.
In terms of secondary movements, the drop in illegal entry via the Greek land border was not reflected in the traditional route for onward movement to the rest of the EU. The most established onward route, via the Western Balkans, recorded a 37% increase in detections on 2011 figures.