Algerian clandestine migrants come in 4th position, people who tried to reach Europe illegally in 2020, behind the Syrians, Moroccans and Tunisians, according to figures issued by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).
The agency reported that some 124 000 irregular crossings of the EU’s external borders were detected in 2020, down 13% on 2019.
This decrease is largely explained, according to the agency, by the impact of Covid-19 restrictions put in place by various countries. This is the lowest figure since 2013.
Notwithstanding the increase earlier this year, the Eastern Mediterranean migration route recorded the largest drop in arrivals, from more than ¾ to around 20 000, while the number of irregular crossings of the EU’s external borders by the Western Mediterranean route fell by 29 per cent to around 17 000.
In addition, the Canary Islands recorded a record number of migrant arrivals on its shores in 2020, due in part to a dramatic increase in the last four months of the year.
In total, the number of arrivals in the Central Mediterranean has almost tripled to more than 35,600, making it the most active migration route to the Old Continent.
Smugglers often used large fishing boats capable of transporting larger numbers of people from West African countries such as Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia, according to the same source.