Migrants' movements through the Mediterranean (EMN Policy Brief - UPDATE)

This EMN Policy Brief examines trends in applications for international protection and irregular movements of third-country national migrants across the EU and Norway. It focuses on the period 2012 - 2016 and – where data is available - up to August 2017. This is an update of the Policy Brief published in December 2015.

The EMN Policy Brief on migrants’ movements through the Mediterranean focuses on the period 2012-2016 and – where data is available - up to August 2017 to identify patterns in migratory flows and provide a snapshot of these movements across the years. The Brief concentrates on the Mediterranean Member States (CY, EL, ES, FR, HR, IT, MT and SI) as well as non - Mediterranean Member States (AT, BE, DE, HU, NL, SE and UK) that received over 100,000 asylum applications since 2012.

Some of the findings:

Trends in asylum in the EU and Norway, 2012-2017

  • Between 2012 and 2016, almost 4 million asylum applications were lodged in the EU and Norway, with most registered in 2015 and 2016. By 2017, the number of asylum applications decreased significantly reaching similar levels to 2014.
  • The (Member) States with the largest number of asylum applications in the period 2012-2016 were Germany (41% of the total), Sweden (9%), France (9%), Italy (8%), Hungary (7%) and Austria (5%).

Migrant routes to Europe, 2012-2017

  • According to Frontex, 2015 saw the highest number of detected illegal border crossings at 1.82 million detections. This had decreased by 2016 to 0.5 million detections.
  • The Eastern Mediterranean, Western Balkans and Central Mediterranean were the three main entry routes in order of detections between 2012 and 2017.
  • The migratory movements in 2017 have changed because the number of detections on the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkan routes have dropped significantly. These changes can be explained by the EU-Turkey statement agreed in 2016 as well as by the more stringent border control rules implemented by (Member) States.

The scale of secondary movements in the EU and Norway, 2012-2016

  • In 2016, there were 180,478 incoming Dublin requests, meaning that about 14% of all asylum applicants had already submitted an asylum application in a different (Member) State or that another (Member) State should take the responsibility for examining their asylum application.

Humanitarian relief and resettlement, 2012-2017

  • In the period 2012-2016, the EU has increased the level of humanitarian aid provided to migrants and asylum seekers. There are over 4 million Syrian refugees living outside of Syria and the EU has provided almost €5 billion since 2012 to this cause according to EDRIS data.
  • In 2015, (Member) States agreed to resettle via multilateral and national schemes 22 thousand displaced persons from outside the EU who were in clear need of international protection. As a result, the number of resettled Syrian nationals in the EU has more than doubled starting with 2015 and reached 11 thousand in 2016.
  • As of November 2017, the number of relocations from Greece stood at 21 thousand and Italy at 10 thousand. In total over 31,500 persons were relocated from these two (Member) States representing 32% of the total legal commitment.