UN migration agency sounds alarm over sea deaths as EU arrivals rise
Three times as many people sought to reach the European Union across the Mediterranean in the first...
Three times as many people sought to reach the European Union across the Mediterranean in the first three months of 2023 compared to a year before, the bloc's border agency said, as the UN migration arm decried the deadliest first quarter since 2017.
Overall, the EU agency Frontex reported 54,000 irregular crossings into the bloc via all routes in the first quarter of the year, up a fifth from 2022.
"The Central Mediterranean route accounts for more than half of all irregular border crossings into the EU," Frontex said in a statement, adding nearly 28,000 people had arrived that way n from the start of the year until the end of March, three times as many as in the same period in 2022.
"Organised crime groups took advantage of better weather and political volatility in some countries of departure to try to smuggle as many migrants as possible across the Central Mediterranean from Tunisia and Libya."
On Tuesday (Apr 11), Italy's right-wing government announced a state of emergency on immigration following a "sharp rise" in arrivals across the Mediterranean, a move that will allow it to send back unwanted migrants more quickly.