Officials from the United Nations have said it is incorrect to think that Europe is in the grip of a migration crisis.

They say the turmoil over immigration that is straining a number of European countries is because the issue is being politicised and not because of any increase in numbers coming from North Africa.

Many of those trying to reach Europe are from sub-Saharan Africa.

A spokesman for the UN Refugee Agency, Charley Yaxley, told a news conference in Geneva that if there was a crisis it was a political one:

I think when we look at the numbers now, we can see a clear distinction for the numbers that are coming this year compared to previous years.

Forty-five thousand seven hundred asylum seekers and migrants have reached European shores after crossing the Mediterranean Sea in the first six months of 2018, a sharp decline compared to previous years.

When compared to the peak of the arrivals in the first half of 2016, the number is five times lower, and this represents a return to the averages that we were seeing before 2014.”