Spain now “preferred” migrant destination


Most migrants who crossed the Mediterranean to Europe last year arrived in Spain, according to European Union estimates with Italy having the fewest irregular entries in five years.

Border and coast guard agency Frontex estimated 150,000 people entered the EU through irregular crossings in 2018, the lowest number in five years and well below the peak of over a million recorded in 2015.

The number of arrivals in Italy, which has taken measures to prevent rescued migrants landing, fell 80% to around 23,000, the least since 2012.

Arrivals in Spain doubled to 57,000 migrants last year, making the route from Morocco to the Iberian Peninsula the most active in Europe.

Arrivals in Greece and Cyprus through the so-called Eastern Mediterranean route rose to 56,000, most migrants coming from Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq.