The number of migrants crossing into Europe along the Balkan route has dropped significantly, while the number crossing from Libya remains at the same level as last year, Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri said in an interview published Thursday.
"There is nearly no passage along the migratory route of the Balkans," Leggeri told French newspaper Le Figaro in an interview.
He attributed the drop to the closure of the Macedonian, Slovenian and Serbian borders, as well as the migrant deal between Turkey and the EU.
Since March 20, he said, Syrians irregularly passing the borders are systematically re-admitted into Turkey. "There is a real dissuasive effect because, for the first time, we have managed to reverse the flow. Although all these things take time," Leggeri said.
At the same time, Leggeri said that Frontex has counted 60,000 people arriving along the central Mediterranean route since the start of the year. New routes have also been created, he said, from Egypt and residual arrivals from Turkey, but 85 per cent come from Libya.
Six hundred Frontex border guards have been deployed to Italy, Leggeri said - a record number.
He added that while most of the migrants and potential asylum seekers coming from Turkey were from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Bangladesh and Pakistan, many of those seeking to reach Europe from Libya are from Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan as well as Senegal, Ivory Coast and Gambia.
Friday, May 13, 2016 - 12:57