Mobility between the Maghreb and Europe has been a constant in the shared Euro–North African history. This mobility of people from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco was infused in the late 1990s with a new current of mostly irregular migrants from sub-Saharan countries crossing the Maghreb en route to Europe. Since 2000, the regional migration dynamics between sub-Saharan countries, the Maghreb and the EU has undergone many changes linked to the deterioration of economic conditions in African regions and the security upheavals caused by the ‘Arab Spring’. This created an erratic flow of irregular migration along the ‘Western Mediterranean Route’between 2000 and 2006, which tapered off as migratory routes shifted to the Central Mediterranean. In 2011–2012 there was a new surge in movement along the Western Mediterranean Route from Syrian refugees that peaked in 2015–2016 with a ‘migratory explosion’ off the Tunisian and Libyan coasts before levelling off in a ‘migratory peace’ on the maritime Moroccan-Spanish side.
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