Situational update on migratory flows in February 2015


In January and February 2015, the Western Balkan route registered more than 26 600 illegal border crossings, a tenfold increase compared to the same period of last year. Such high numbers were mainly caused by the unprecedented numbers of Kosovo* nationals crossing the Serbian-Hungarian border illegally. However, this migratory flow also included other nationalities, primarily Afghans and Syrians travelling from Turkey via Greece and Bulgaria.

As a consequence of increased border control measures introduced by Hungary, Serbia and an information campaign in Kosovo*, the migratory flows of Kosovans dramatically decreased starting in mid-February 2015.

In the Central Mediterranean, high numbers of migrants departed from Libya, defying seasonal lows typical for the winter season, the most hazardous time to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. Worth noting is the change in the composition of the nationalities of migrants leaving Libya, namely an increase in sub-Saharan migrants and a drop in the number of Syrians. The latter is also attributed to the increasingly more dangerous situation in Libya which has made travelling through Libya more dangerous. In addition, Tunisia and Algeria have introduced visa regime for Syrians who travelled to either of these countries by air before proceeding by land to the Libyan coast. 

On the Eastern Mediterranean route, the number of detections on the Greek Aegean Islands more than doubled. It should be noted that no cargo vessels carrying migrants from Turkey were detected at the EU’s external borders since 2 January.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.