Credits: ICMPD

Over the past two years, there have been significant shifts in migratory trends along the main overland and sea routes to the EU: the Central Mediterranean route from Libya; and the Eastern Mediterranean/Western Balkan routes from Turkey. Data from IOM on refugees and migrants using these routes show that the number of people from West Africa and East and Horn of Africa travelling through Libya to Italy has remained relatively stable over the past three years, with a total of 106,000 people arriving in 2017 so far, 181,000 in 2016, and 154,000 in 2015. On the other hand, there were dramatic shifts along the Eastern Mediterranean/Western Balkan routes during those same three years: just 22,000 people have arrived in Greece so far in 2017, as compared to 177,000 people in 2016 and 857,000 in 2015.

The significant increase in the numbers of people using the Eastern Mediterranean/Western Balkan routes in 2015 led to intensified interest in migration policy among the media, politicians, policy-makers and the general public across the EU. Lamentably, this increased attention did not translate into conceptual clarity and provision of accurate information, due to general confusion and inaccuracies regarding the related – but distinct – phenomena of irregular migration, forced migration (of refugees), migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

Read more: ICMPD