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The issue of migration will be the deciding factor for voters in next May’s European parliamentary elections, the prime minister’s chief domestic security advisor said. Judging by the national elections held in Europe over the past few years, public opinion on migration has shifted significantly, and this will likely have an impact on the composition of the next European Parliament, György Bakondi told a press conference.

He said illegal migrants were still making their way to Europe through three main channels: via Spain, Italy and the Balkan route that starts from Greece.

A total of 62,479 migrants arrived in Europe via Spain this year, a more than 120% increase over last year’s figures, Bakondi said. Most of the migrants coming through here are from Morocco, Mali, Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Algeria, Republic of The Gambia and Senegal, he said.

The flow of migrants coming in through Italy has decreased by 80% this year thanks to the government’s strict immigration policy, Bakondi said. The strict measures meant that only 23,192 people arrived in Europe through Italy, he added. Greece saw 31,874 arrivals this year, a 5% increase over 2017, the PM’s advisor said, adding, however, that the authorities have not been successful in registering every migrant that entered through the Turkish-Greek “green border”.

Most migrants entering Europe via this route are Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis, Congolese, Palestinians, Iranians, Algerians and Pakistanis, Bakondi said. At present, there are some 16,000 asylum seekers on the Greek islands, he added. Bakondi said there are some 3.9 million refugees in Turkey, of whom 3.5 million are Syrians, 170,000 Afghans, 142,000 Iraqis, 57,700 Somalis and 39,000 Iranians.

As regards Hungary, Bakondi said some 5,900 migrants attempted to breach Hungary’s border fence this year, of whom 1,700 were caught before they entered the country, and 4,200 were escorted back over the fence.