In the last few months, tensions between two NATO member states have escalated dramatically - Turkey has threatened to invade Greek islands, Greece has responded, Turkey has violated Greek airspace 100s of times, and Greeks now see Turkey as the greatest threat to their existence.
And now, in the first five months of 2018, KeepTalkingGreece.com reports that Greece has been Europe’s top entry point for refugees and migrants. According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontext, over 19,800 people entered Greece during January – May 2018. At the same time, the land border crossing from Turkey to Greece increased by 90 percent. The majority of these people were Syrians and Iraqis.
In a press release published on Monday, the Frontext presented the May data that refer to the number of detections of irregular border-crossing at the external borders of the European Union. The same person may attempt to cross the border several times in different locations at the external border.
Migratory flows in May: Decreasing trend, but pressure remains
In May, some 12 100 irregular border crossings were detected on the main migratory routes into the EU, 56% fewer than in the same month of last year.
In the first five months of 2018, the total number of irregular border crossings fell 46% compared to a year ago to about 43 200, mainly because of lower migratory pressure on the Central Mediterranean route.
The number of migrants arriving in Italy via the Central Mediterranean route in May fell to about 4 100, down 82% from May 2017. The total number of migrants detected on this route in the first five months of 2018 fell to roughly 13 450, down 77% from a year ago. So far this year, Tunisians and Eritreans were the two most represented nationalities on this route, together accounting for more than 37% of all the detected migrants.
In May, the number of irregular migrants taking the Eastern Mediterranean route stood at some 4 400, 40% fewer than in the previous month. But because of a rise of irregular crossings in March and April on the land borders with Turkey, the total number of migrants detected on the Eastern Mediterranean route until the end of May rose by 90% to more than 19 800.
The largest number of migrants on this route in the first five months of the year were nationals of Syria and Iraq.
Last month, the number of irregular migrants reaching Spain stood at around 3 400, more about thrice the figure from last month, as well as May 2017. In the first five months of 2018, there were some 8 200 irregular border crossings on the Western Mediterranean route, 59% more than a year ago.
Nationals of Guinea accounted for the highest number of arrivals in Spain this year, followed by those from Morocco, Mali and Ivory Coast.
Despite the low number of detections at the external borders, Frontex has observed an emergence of new sub-routes via Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina, as well as from Serbia to Bosnia Herzegovina. This has been linked with increased migratory pressure in these countries in recent months and at the border between Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia.
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As the Migration problem threatens to bring Germany’s coalition government to collapse, Chancellor Angela Merkel is reportedly preparing for an EU Summit on the issue.
Germany’s Interior Minister and leader of Bavarian CSU, Horst Seehofer, is threatening to impose migrant restrictions only in the federal state of Bavaria if Merkel does not take measures.
There are elections in Bavaria in autumn and arch-conservative Seehofer obviously tries to gain voters who otherwise go for the far-right, anti-migration and populist AfD.
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So to sum up - EU in general saw a 46% drop in migrant inflows in the first five months of 2018... but Greece saw a 90% increase in migrant inflows across the land border with the nation that has threatened to invade it...?