LONDON — Spain has overtaken Italy as the No. 1 destination for migrants crossing the Mediterranean to try to reach Europe.
The latest figures for the European Union’s border agency Frontex show the number of migrants reaching Spain jumped 166 percent from a year ago, to nearly 6,400 in June. Nationals of Morocco, Guinea and Mali accounted for the highest number of arrivals in Spain.
Conversely, the number of migrants using the so-called central Mediterranean route to Italy and Malta was down about 3,000, a drop of 87 percent from June 2017.
Italy has rejected criticism of its hard-line policy on immigration, after protesters marched on the Interior Ministry accusing it of being responsible for the deaths of migrants at sea. Rome has banned nongovernmental organization charity boats from disembarking migrants in Italian ports.