Illegal entries to EU at lowest level in five years
An estimated 150,000 illegal crossings were registered by Frontex last year, the lowest amount since 2013, the BBC reported on Friday.
But it said that arrivals in Spain had doubled for the second year in a row.
The number of people detected in 2018 was 92 per cent below that of 2015, when Europe's migration crisis was at its peak.
The number of illegal crossings detected there plummeted by 80 per cent to slightly more than 23,000, Frontex says.
The agency also gathered data on the gender and ages of those caught trying to enter the EU illegally.
Women accounted for 18 per cent of them, it says, while nearly one in five said they were under the age of 18.
The figures differ from those recorded by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) which says that 123,109 illegal migrants arrived in the EU last year.
Frontex says this discrepancy is due to the fact that they cover all of the EU's external land borders whereas the UN primarily measure sea borders.
The government, a coalition between the right-wing League party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, came to power in June.
It has pursued a number of measures to prevent rescued migrants from landing on its shores.
In September, it passed a bill that was intended to make it easier to deport migrants and strip them of Italian citizenship.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has also frequently come into conflict with migrant rescue ship operators and has banned these ships from docking at Italian ports.
Italian policy is that migrants picked up at sea should be returned to Libya by that country's coastguard.
But charities and human rights groups say migrants face appalling conditions in Libya, where abuse at the hands of people-trafficking gangs are rife.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)