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Migrants’ movements through the Mediterranean: EMN Policy Brief

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This Policy Brief[1] focuses on irregular migratory movements, rather than the regular migration of people using legal mechanisms which are well-established and are measured routinely in published statistics.

It is in this context that the current large numbers of asylum seekers, migrants and displaced persons arriving at our borders is a test for the European Union and its Member States. The normal flow and reception of people has been disrupted by these large numbers of people seeking to enter the EU.

The aim is to present key data on the irregular movements of people across the EU external borders and within the European Union (EU) itself, whether as asylum seekers or as migrants in search of greater economic security, over the past few years and including the first nine months of 2015.

In identifying key data to illustrate irregular migratory flows, this report attempts to summarise patterns for the EU while focusing on the most important flows and countries of origin. As these patterns are continuously subject to change the picture it presents should be seen as a snapshot of developments over the time period covered.

See also: EMN Inform on migrants’ movements through the Mediterranean.


[1] This Policy Brief has been compiled by the UK National Contact Point (NCP) of the European Migration Network (EMN) with the collaboration of the Italian, French, Netherlands and Swedish NCPs and input from other members of the EMN along with colleagues at Frontex and Eurostat.

Author: European Migration Network
Publisher: Directorate General Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission
Date of Publication: 23 December 2015
Reference Period: 01 January 2013 to 01 September 2015
Geographical focus: Europe

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