EU border agency says bad weather drags migrant arrivals down in January

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2016 9:41 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Bad weather cut the number of people migrants and refugees arriving in Greece, the main gateway to Europe, by 40 percent last month from December, the European Union's border agency Frontex said on Monday.

Frontex said Syrians, Iraqis and Afghanis accounted for the most of the 68,000 people that reached Greece last month via the Mediterranean. But it said the figure was still nearly 40-times higher than in January 2015.

The United Nation's refugee agency UNHCR says more than 101,000 migrants and refugees have got to Europe so far this year, mostly via Greece, with some 6,500 reaching the continent in Italy. UNHCR says 406 people died or went missing attempting the voyage this year so far.

More than a million migrants and refugees reached Europe last year. The vast majority of them trekked north-west to Germany in the 28-nation bloc's worst migration crisis in decades and one that opened deep rifts between EU states.

EU justice and home affairs ministers will discuss the crisis again in Brussels on Thursday before the bloc's leaders meet for a summit on March 17-18.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)