Cyprus and Greece are likely to face “increased migration activity’’ from Turkey between this year and 2024, the EU border agency Frontex said in a risk analysis.
“Developments on the ground” in a number of countries of origin and transit, driven by “global macroeconomic factors” including persistent inflation and global recession, will “negatively impact” the socioeconomic conditions of large populations and herald an increase in migration flows to Europe, Frontex notes.
It said by 2024, it is “likely” that the Eastern and Central Mediterranean routes leading respectively from Turkey to Greece and Cyprus and from North Africa to Italy “will see increased migration activity and a higher share of total migration flows to the external borders of the EU”.
Last month, the EU border agency reported that the Central Mediterranean remained the most active route into the EU in 2023, with over 89,000 detections reported by national authorities in the first seven months of the year, a rise of 115% over the same period in 2022.
This was the highest total on this route for January-July since 2017.
Conversely, during the same period, arrivals on the Eastern Mediterranean route were said to have fallen by 29% compared to 2022.
Cyprus has seen an increase in irregular migrants arriving by boat from Syria and Lebanon.
Authorities say there has been a rise in migrants arriving by boat, with a 60% increase recorded compared to last year.
According to the Aliens and Immigration Unit, most irregular migrants arriving by sea come on boats from Tartus, Syria and are usually located off Cape Greco, Ayia Napa.
Nicosia argues it is a ‘frontline country’ on the Mediterranean migrant route, with asylum-seekers comprising an EU high of 6% of the island’s 915,000 population in the Republic – a record figure across the bloc.