More than 500 000 migrants were detected at EU external borders in the first eight months of this year after a fifth consecutive monthly record was registered in August when 156 000 crossed the EU borders, EU external border agency Frontex said.
However, a large number of the people detected at the Hungarian border with Serbia had already been counted when they arrived in Greece from Turkey a few weeks earlier.
By comparison, in the entire 2014, there were 280 000 detections at EU borders.
The Greek islands again saw the biggest number of detections in August at 88 000, an 11-fold rise compared to the same month last year. Nearly three-quarters of the people arriving from Turkey were Syrians.
“The Greek islands continue to be under an intense migratory pressure. Just last week Frontex offered additional staff to help identify and register the new arrivals on Lesbos and Kos, which have been particularly affected,” Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri said.
The migrants arriving from Turkey speak about increasingly aggressive and cruel smugglers, who ignore worsening weather conditions and force migrants on overcrowded rubber boats to squeeze a bigger profit out of every trip, Frontex said in its September 14 statement.
A large number of the migrants arriving in Greece make their way towards Hungary, where the number of detections at its border with Serbia increased 20-fold to more than 52 000 in August, bringing the number so far this year to more than 155 000.
Italy detected nearly 13 000 migrants in the month of August, nearly half the number from the same month of last year. These were mainly people from Eritrea and a number of Sub-Saharan countries who arrived from Libya, although an increasing number of them departed Turkey.
Since the beginning of the year, 106 000 migrants were rescued in the Central Mediterranean, six per cent fewer than in the same period of last year. It is important to note that most of the rescues took place closer to the Libyan coast than to the EU sea borders, Frontex said.