The number of irregular migrant arrivals to the EU fell by 13 per cent year-on-year in 2020 due to widespread restrictions on movement introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said Tuesday while speaking at the launch event for the European Asylum Support Office’s (EASO) annual report.
Johansson said the numbers of both irregular arrivals and asylum applications in the bloc fell dramatically.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, asylum applications dropped in 2020 by more than 30 per cent to 485,000 in total.
“Two thirds of applications were made in just three countries: Germany, France, and Spain. Irregular arrivals dropped as well by 13 per cent.’’
The European commissioner said that there was a significant drop in the number of migrants and asylum seekers attempting to cross into Europe using the western and eastern routes.
However, researchers noted a threefold increase in the number of people attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea via the central route from Libya to Italy.
Johansson also added that an eightfold increase in the number of people attempting to traverse the “deadliest route” from West Africa to the Canary Islands.