More than three times as many migrants were tracked entering the European Union by irregular means in July compared to the same month last year, official data shows.
EU border agency Frontex said a record 107,500 migrants reached the EU’s borders last month, as the 28-member bloc struggles to cope with a refugee crisis. “The figure was the third consecutive monthly record, jumping well past the previous high of more than 70,000 reached in June,” the Warsaw-based agency said in a statement. The July figure comes days after EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the world faced its “worst refugee crisis since World War II”.
This is an emergency situation for Europe.
While the increase recorded by Frontex may be partly due to better monitoring, it highlighted the scale of a crisis that has led to more than 2,000 deaths this year as desperate migrants take to rickety boats. The EU has approved 2.4 billion euros ($6.7 billion) of funding to help member states cope with the flood of migrants — many of them Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans fleeing instability at home.
The number of migrants reaching the borders was nearly 340,000 during the first seven months of the year, up from 123,500 during the same period in 2014, according to Frontex. That was a 175 per cent rise on the same period last year and much more than the 280,000 registered arrivals in all of 2014.
“This has created an unprecedented pressure on border control authorities in Greece, Italy and Hungary,” the agency said. The July record figure includes 50,000 migrants detected in the Aegean Sea, more than 20,000 in Italy, and nearly 35,000 in the Western Balkans.
“This is an emergency situation for Europe that requires all EU member states to step in to support the national authorities who are taking on a massive number of migrants at its borders,” Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri added in the statement. “Frontex has called on member states to provide additional equipment and people to support our operations in Greece and in Hungary.”