Migration flows at highest since 2019

Arrivals in Greece rise by 154%, mainly via Evros border and the islands in first months of 2024

Migration flows at highest since 2019

After a relative lull in recent years, migratory flows in 2024 have already increased significantly in the first months of 2024, mainly through the Evros border region in northeastern Greece, but also the Greek islands.

According to data from the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, in the first quarter of 2024, these represent the highest migration flows since 2019.

The flows to Evros in particular have been rising over the recent period as shown by the asylum applications filed in Fylakio, with 585 in April. At the same time, migrants arrive by sea on small boats and try to reach different parts of the country, such as the coast of Crete, Gavdos and Lakonia. 

The mayor of Gavdos, Lilian Afentaki, said that two boats arrived on the island with 19 and 43 people on board respectively in June. She points out, however, that their transfer is organized immediately, within two days at most, so there is no problem with tourist traffic. 

By way of comparison, about 11,000 migrants had arrived in Greece in the first quarter of 2019 (January-April). However, in the same period in 2020, arrivals dropped, with about 9,000 migrants entering the country. Arrivals then decreased drastically in 2021 and 2022. For instance, in 2021, from January to April, just over 2,000 arrived, and about 3,500 in 2022. And last year, 4,660 migrants entered the country in the first quarter. But in 2024 from the beginning of the year to April the number of arrivals had already reached 11,835, an increase of 154% compared to the same period in 2023.

An increase in arrivals was also recorded on the islands in May, with 1,592 people arriving in that month in 2023 compared to 4,115 in 2024. And in June until Tuesday, 1,477 migrants had tried to reach Greek shores and were intercepted by the Hellenic Coast Guard. Already, those staying in facilities on both the islands and mainland Greece in April 2024 had almost doubled compared to the same month in 2023.

As far as cooperation with the competent authorities in Turkey to monitor and control migratory flows is concerned, Hellenic Coast Guard sources say that there is still consultation and direct communication between the respective officials of the two countries.

Greek Shipping Minister Christos Stylianides and his Turkish counterpart agreed in a meeting in Ankara in January to reactivate the communication channel between the respective coast guards. 

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