The number of illegal migrants entering Europe via the central Mediterranean route has more than doubled in the first two months of this year. It is now becoming the main route to Europe, and Meloni as Italian Prime Minister does not seem to be deterred.
As current data from the European border protection agency Frontex shows, the number of illegal border crossings is increasing significantly, especially in the central Mediterranean region. A total of 11,951 illegal immigrants were apprehended there in the first two months of this year, an increase of 118 percent over the same period last year. The number of apprehensions also increased in the eastern Mediterranean – by 6 percent to 3,981 people.
On the other hand, another main route, that via the Western Balkans, recorded a somewhat larger decline with 8,394 seizures (-28 percent). The western Mediterranean route to Spain (1,099 seizures, -38 percent) and the West African route to the Canary Islands (1,771 seizures, -68 percent) also showed a reduction in seizures. The Moroccan authorities are expected to step up their crackdown somewhat as the North African kingdom’s relations with the European Union improve again. With a total of 28,130 seizures, the arrival figures are roughly in the same range as in the same period last year.
What is interesting, however, is that despite the Italian centre-right government under Prime Minister Meloni, which is pursuing a stricter policy against illegal immigration, arrival numbers there are skyrocketing. So there doesn’t seem to be any deterrent effect for illegal immigrants and people smugglers.
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