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Migrant border crossings into Europe at five-year low

African refugees and migrants, mostly from Sudan and Senegal, wait aboard a rubber boat out of control to be assisted by an NGO, 25 miles north of Sabratha, off the Libyan coast, early in the morning on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

The European Union's border agency says the number of unauthorised border crossings into Europe has hit a five-year low, but that migrant entries into Spain via the Mediterranean continue to climb.

Frontex said migrants tried to cross the EU's external borders without authorisation around 150,000 times last year, a 25% drop compared with 2017.

It said the drop is due to a massive decrease in the number of people entering Italy, mostly after setting out from Libya and Algeria.

Just over 23,000 unauthorised crossings were noted on that route in 2018.

Frontex said about 57,000 crossings were detected in Spain, double the figure for 2017.

EU nations have been arguing over how to manage migrant arrivals since well over a million people entered in 2015.