Migration across the Mediterranean is often presented – in media and political debates – as a single, transnational phenomenon characterised by steady inflows of people, and seemingly guided by uncontrollable forces. By examining official statistics for the 2014 – 2018 period, this paper aims to present an alternative narrative. It compares different sub-regional scenarios – particularly focusing on Greece, Italy and Spain as countries of arrival – and their variations over time, looking at sea arrivals, search and rescue and death-at-sea data. In doing so, it highlights the complexity of a multiplicity of “refugee crises”, but also the major role played by national governments and other international actors not just in shaping migration flows but also in determining their humanitarian impact.
Key Words: Mediterranean migration, search and rescue, deaths at sea, migration policy
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