European migrant crisis
From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
The European migrant crisis, also known as the refugee crisis, is a period characterised by high numbers of people arriving in the European Union (EU) overseas from across the Mediterranean Sea or overland through Southeast Europe. In total, EU countries received over 1.2 million asylum applications in 2015, two-thirds of which were made in four states (Germany, Hungary, Sweden and Austria).
The migrant crisis was part of a pattern of increased forced migration to Europe from other continents which is said to have begun in 2014. At the peak of the crisis in 2015, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) observed that the top three nationalities among over one million refugees arriving from the Mediterranean Sea were Syrian (46.7%), Afghan (20.9%) and Iraqi (9.4%). Around 3600 people died crossing the Mediterranean Sea. By 2019, the number of displaced arrivals to the Mediterranean had dropped to 129,663 people.
Many refugees that arrived in Italy and Greece came from countries where armed conflict was ongoing (Syrian Civil War, Afghanistan War, Iraqi conflict) or which otherwise were considered to be "refugee-producing" and for whom international protection is needed. The collapse of border controls during the Second Libyan Civil War (2014–2020) abetted human smuggling through Libya, with the Libya route used by huge numbers of people.
The BBC used the term "migrant" to represent all the people on the move during this period in its review articles published in 2016 "Migrant crisis: Migration to Europe explained" and 2015 "Europe migrant crisis". According to the BBC, the crisis included people who had not yet applied for asylum, refugees, and economic migrants.
The Syrian Civil War began as a result of Bashar al-Assad's government violent response to the Arab Spring protests of March 2011, which quickly escalated into widespread conflict as soldiers defected en masse. By May 2011, thousands of people had fled the country and the first refugee camps opened in Turkey. In March 2012, the UNHCR appointed a Regional Refugee Coordinator for Syrian Refugees, recognising the growing concerns surrounding the crisis. By March 2013, the total number of Syrian refugees reached 1,000,000, the vast majority of whom were internally displaced within Syria or had fled to Turkey or Lebanon; smaller numbers had sought refuge in Iraq and Egypt.
According to the UNHCR, the EU countries with the biggest numbers of recognised refugees at the end of 2014 were France (252,264), Germany (216,973), Sweden (142,207) and the United Kingdom (117,161).
Means of entry into the EU
Because the refugees entering Europe in 2015 were predominantly from the Middle East, the vast majority first entered the EU through Turkey, either via its land borders with Greece or Bulgaria or by crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Greece by boat. Many made for Greek islands less than 6 km (4 mi) from Turkey such as Chios, Kos, Lesbos, Leros, Kastellorizo, Agathonisi, Farmakonisi, Rhodes, Samos, Symi. At one point, incoming refugees outnumbered locals. From Greece, most tried to make their way toward through the Balkans to Central and Northern Europe. This represented a stark change to the previous year, when most refugees and migrants landed in Italy from northern Africa. In fact, in the first half of 2015, Italy was, as in previous years, the most common landing point for refugees entering the EU, especially the southern Sicilian island of Lampedusa. By June, however, Greece overtook Italy in the number of arrivals and became the starting point of a flow of refugees and migrants moving through Balkan countries to Northern European countries, particularly Germany and Sweden. By the end of 2015, about 80% of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea landed in Greece, compared to only 15% in Italy.
Greece appealed to the European Union for assistance; the UNCHR European Director Vincent Cochetel said facilities for migrants on the Greek islands were "totally inadequate" and the islands were in "total chaos". Frontex's Operation Poseidon, aimed at patrolling the Aegean Sea, was underfunded and undermanned, with only 11 coastal patrol vessels, one ship, two helicopters, two aircraft, and a budget of €18 million.
A section of northeastern Croatia is believed to contain up to 60,000 unexploded land mines from the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s. Refugees were feared to be at risk of unknowingly detonating some of these minefields as they crossed the area. However, there were no reported cases of this happening in 2015 or 2016.
Smaller numbers continued to make the sea journey from northern Africa to Italy. Most of the refugees and migrants taking this route came from Eritrea, Nigeria, and Somalia. At least 3771 people died during the journey.
A few other routes were also used by some refugees, although they were comparatively low in number. One such route was entering Finland or Norway via Russia; on a few days Arctic border stations in these countries saw several hundred "irregular" border crossings per day. Norway recorded around 6,000 refugees crossing its northern border in 2015. Because it is illegal to drive from Russia to Norway without a permit, and crossing on foot is prohibited, some used a legal loophole and made the crossing by bicycle. Some observers argued that the Russian government facilitated the influx in an attempt to warn European leaders against maintaining sanctions imposed after Russia's annexation of Crimea. In January 2016, a Russian border guard admitted that the Russian Federal Security Service was enabling migrants to enter Finland.
Causes of increased number of asylum seekers
Escaping from conflicts or persecution
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, most of the people who arrived in Europe in 2015 were refugees fleeing war and persecution in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea: 84 percent of Mediterranean Sea arrivals in 2015 came from the world's top ten refugee-producing countries. Wars fueling the migrant crisis are the Syrian Civil War, the Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan, the War in Somalia and the War in Darfur. Refugees from Eritrea, one of the most repressive states in the world, fled from indefinite military conscription and forced labour.
Below are the major regions of conflict that have resulted in the increase of asylum seekers in the European region.
Refugees of the Syrian civil war made up the majority of those seeking asylum in Europe in 2015-16. Detected illegal border crossings to the EU by Syrians numbered 78,887 in 2014, 594,059 in 2015, 88,551 in 2016, and 19,452 in 2017.
Anti-government forces were supported by external governments (including the US, UK and France) in an effort to topple the Syrian government via classified programs such as Timber Sycamore (begin: 2012 or 2013 end: 2017) that effectively delivered thousands of tons of weaponry to rebel groups.
Afghan refugees constitute the second-largest refugee population in the world. According to the UNHCR, there are almost 2.5 million registered refugees from Afghanistan. Most of these refugees fled the region due to war and persecution. The majority have resettled in Pakistan and Iran, though it became increasingly common to migrate further west to the European Union. Afghanistan faced over 40 years of conflict dating back to the Soviet invasion in 1979. Since then, the nation faced fluctuating levels of civil war amidst unending unrest. The increase in refugee numbers has been primarily attributed to the Taliban presence within Afghanistan. Their retreat in 2001 led to nearly 6 million Afghan refugees returning to their homeland. However, after civil unrest and fighting alongside the Taliban's return, nearly 2.5 million refugees fled Afghanistan.
Migration from Kosovo occurred in phases beginning from the second half of the 20th century. The Kosovo War (February 1998-June 1999) created a wave. On 19 May 2011, Kosovo established the Ministry of Diaspora. Kosovo also established the Kosovo Diaspora Agency (KDA) to support migrants. Migrants from Kosovo newly arriving in the EU, detected but not over an official border-crossing point, was around 21,000 in 2014 and 10,000 in 2015. At the same period detected illegal border crossings to the EU from Kosovo was 22,069 in 2014 and 23,793 in 2015. In 2015 there was sudden surge, which Kosovo became helpless to stem.
This section may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. (June 2020)
|Migrant and refugee arrivals in the EU, 2015–16[note 1]|
^ note 1: Defined as monthly "irregular border crossings" into the EU. The net number of refugees entering the EU is considerably lower because many migrants were double-counted as "illegally crossing an EU border": first when arriving in Greece, and again when entering the EU for the second time through Hungary or Croatia.
The first half of 2015 saw around 230,000 people enter the EU. The most common points of entry were Italy and Greece. From there, arrivals either applied for asylum directly or attempted to travel to other countries, especially Northern and Western European ones. For many, this involved traveling through the Balkans and re-entering the EU in Hungary or Croatia. As required by EU law, Hungary registered most of them as asylum seekers and attempted to prevent them from traveling on to other EU countries. At the same time, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán began using fear of immigration as a domestic political campaign issue and stated his hard opposition to accepting any refugees long-term.
By August 2015, Hungary housed about 150,000 refugees in makeshift camps. Due in part to the Hungarian government's unwelcoming stance towards refugees, squalid conditions in the camps, and their poor prospects of being allowed to stay, most had little desire to remain in Hungary. Footage of police brutality in the Hungarian camps engendered a wave of pro-refugee sentiment throughout much of Europe, particularly in Germany.
On August 21, 2015, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, overwhelmed with the number of incoming asylum applications and the complexity of determining whether each applicant had previously made an application in another EU country, and faced with the reality that almost all asylum applications by Syrians were being granted anyway, began to permit asylum applications even from people who had previously applied for refugee status in another EU country. Up to that point, Germany had been deporting such refugees 'back' to the first country where they had claimed asylum.[b] Interpreting this to mean that Germany would begin accepting larger numbers of refugees, tens of thousands in Hungary and southeastern Europe began attempting to make their way towards the country. On October 1, Hungarian government closed outbound rail traffic from Budapest's Keleti station, which many refugees were using to travel to Austria and Germany. Within days, a massive buildup of people had formed at the station. On October 4, several thousand set off to make the 150 km journey towards Austria on foot, at which point the Hungarian government relented and no longer tried to stop them. In an effort to force the Austrian and German governments' hands, Hungary chartered buses to the Austrian border for both those walking and those who had stayed behind at the station. Unwilling to resort to violence to keep them out, and faced with a potential humanitarian crisis if the huge numbers languished in Hungary indefinitely, Germany and Austria jointly announced on September 4 that they would allow the migrants into their borders and apply for asylum. Across Germany, crowds formed at train stations to applaud and welcome the arrivals.
Though under pressure from conservative politicians, the German government refused to set an upper limit to the number of asylum applications it would accept, with Angela Merkel arguing that the "fundamental right to seek refuge...from the hell of war knows no limit."
Years later, reports of Croatian police sexually abusing and torturing refugees passing through the country, widely reported by victims but denied by the government, were documented by video. European Commission officials were also later implicated in covering up the abuse.
After inspecting a refugee camp in Traiskirchen, Austria, in August 2015, Amnesty International noted inhabitants were receiving insufficient medical care and claimed Austria was "violating human rights".
In late November, Finnish reception centers were running out of space, which forced authorities to resort to refurbished shipping containers and tents to house new asylum seekers. Deputy prime minister Petteri Orpo announced that special repatriation centers would be established to house denied asylum seekers. While he stressed that these camps would not be prisons, he described the inhabitants would be under strict surveillance.
Many migrants tried to enter the United Kingdom, resulting in camps of migrants around Calais where one of the Eurotunnel entrances is located. In the summer of 2015, at least nine people died in attempts to reach Britain, including falling from trains, being hit by trains, or drowning in a canal at the Eurotunnel entrance. In response, a UK-financed fence was built along the A-216 highway in Calais. At the camp near Calais, known as the Jungle, riots broke out when authorities began demolishing the illegally constructed campsite on 29 January 2015. Amid the protests, which included hunger strikes, thousands of refugees living in the camp were relocated to France's "first international-standard refugee camp" at the La Liniere refugee camp in Grande-Synthe which replaced the previous Basroch refugee camp.
Germany has a quota system to distribute asylum seekers among all German states, but in September 2015 the federal states, responsible for accommodation, criticised the government in Berlin for not providing enough help to them.
In Germany, which took in by far the highest number of refugees, the federal government distributes refugees among the 16 states proportionally to their tax revenue and population; the states themselves are required to come up with housing solutions. In 2015, this arrangement came under strain as many states ran out of dedicated accomodation for incoming refugees. Many resorted to temporarily housing refugees in tents or repurposed empty buildings. The small village of Sumte (population 102), which contained a large unused warehouse, famously took in 750 refugees. Although media and some locals feared racial strife and a far-right political surge, the town remained peaceful and locals largely accepting. By 2020, most of the arrivals had moved on to bigger German cities for work or study; a small number have settled in Sumte permanently.
Many countries, especially those opposed to accepting refugees, reacted to the tens of thousands of people passing through them by closing their borders to neighboring countries. While intended to regain some measure of control, these measures often contributed to chaos as huge numbers of people repeatedly became trapped in one country or were shunted back and forth to another.
Hungary was the first to close its EU borders on September 15, 2015 with the completion of a barbed-wire fence along its border with Serbia. This resulted in large numbers attempting to pass through Croatia and Slovenia instead. Croatia tried to turn back the arrivals en masse, resulting in violent clashes and military involvement. The leaders of Croatia and Hungary each blamed each other for the situation and engaged in a bitter back-and-forth about what to do about the tens of thousands of stranded people. On September 18, three days after Hungary, Croatia likewise closed its border with Serbia, although it initially declined to build a fence (it did end up building one the following year). As refugees were shunted back and forth between them, Hungarian, Croatian and Slovenian police occasionally resorted to force and pepper spray. The Hungary-Serbia border remained closed for the duration of the crisis; Croatia re-opened its border to Serbia on October 19.
On 13 September, Germany introduced temporary border controls on its border with Austria to regulate the inflow of people. The restrictions included suspending rail travel and spot checks on automobiles.
The following month on October 17, Hungary also closed its border with Croatia, forcing migrants to go through Slovenia instead. Slovenia responded by saying it would only allow 2,500 people per day to pass through its border, stranding thousands of migrants in Croatia, Serbia and North Macedonia, while new migrants continued to add to the backlog. In November, Slovenia began erecting temporary fences along the border to direct the flow of people to formal border crossings.
In late December 2015, Slovenia erected a razor-wire fence along the Istria and Gorski Kotar sections of its border with Croatia. The WWF and locals warned that the fence would threaten endangered species that roam across the area, such as lynx and brown bears, which are protected by law in Croatia.
Several countries, such as Hungary, Slovenia and Austria, authorized their armies to secure their borders or repel refugees; some passed legislation specifically to give armed forces more powers.
EU officials generally reacted with dismay at the border closures, warning that they undermined the mutual trust and freedom of movement that the bloc was founded on and risked returning to a pre-1990s arrangement of costly border controls and mistrust. The European Commission warned EU members against steps that contravene EU treaties and urged members like Hungary to find other ways to cope with an influx of refugees and migrants.
In October 2015, the Slovenian government accused Croatian police of helping migrants bypass Slovene border controls and released a night time thermovision video allegedly documenting the event.
|Country||Total processed asylum applications in 2015–17[note 2]|
Role of smugglers
Many migrants payed smugglers for advice, logistical help and transportation through Europe. Human traffickers charged illegal immigrants $1,000 to $1,500 (€901 – €1352) for the 25-minute boat ride from Bodrum, Turkey to Kos. An onward journey, not necessarily relying on smugglers, to Germany was estimated to cost €3,000 – €4,000 and €10,000 – €12,000 to Britain. Airplane tickets directly from Turkey to Germany or Britain would have been far cheaper and safer, but the EU requires airlines to check that passengers have a visa or are exempted from carrying one.
On several occasions, unscrupulous smugglers caused the deaths of the people they were transporting, particularly by using poorly-maintained and overfilled boats and refusing to provide life jackets. At least 3771 refugees and migrants drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015. A single shipwreck near Lampedusa in April accounted for around 800 deaths.
Apart from drownings, the deadliest incident occurred on 27 August 2015, when 71 people were found dead in an unventilated food truck near Vienna. In response, Austria began inspecting vehicles entering from Hungary. Eleven of the smugglers responsible were later arrested and charged with murder and homicide in Hungary.
On 19 September 2015, Austria permitted entry to approximately 10,000 migrants arriving from Slovenia and Hungary. Austria took on the role of regulator for the flow of migrants destined for Germany by feeding, housing and providing them health care in transit.
On 6 September 2015, large groups of migrants who declined to apply for asylum in Germany began passing the Danish borders, with most heading for Sweden. After some violence when Danish police attempted to register all migrants in accordance with EU rules, Denmark temporarily closed rail links with Germany and the E45 Motorway in September 2015, to stop migrants from illegally entering the country by those routes.
After initial uncertainty surrounding the rules, Denmark decided that migrants continuing onwards to other Nordic countries and refusing to seek asylum in Denmark would be allowed to pass. In the five weeks following 6 September, approximately 28,800 migrants crossed the Danish borders, 3,500 of whom applied for asylum in Denmark; the rest continued to other Nordic countries. When Sweden introduced ID checks at the Danish border to prevent undocumented migrants from coming to Sweden in January 2016, Denmark reintroduced border controls on the Danish-German border. The border control remains as of December 2019.
On 9 March 2016 Hungary declared a state of emergency for the entire country and deployed 1500 soldiers to its borders. In August 2017 the state of emergency was extended to March 2018.
Europe needs to fulfil its humanitarian duty, helping those fleeing for their lives, and as a Christian Democrat, I want to reiterate that is not Christian rights, but human rights that Europe invented. But we also need to better secure our external borders and make sure that asylum rules are used properly and not abused.
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, used uncharacteristically strong language addressing the refugee crisis and warned that freedom of travel and open borders among the 28 member states of the EU could be jeopardised if they did not agree on a shared response to this crisis.
Nicolas Sarkozy, president of the Republicans and former French president, compared the EU migrant plan to "mending a burst pipe by spreading water round the house while leaving the leak untouched". Sarkozy criticised Merkel's decision to allow tens of thousands of people to enter Germany, saying that it would attract even greater numbers of people to Europe, of which a significant part would "inevitably" end up in France due to the EU's free movement policies and the French welfare state. He also argued that the Schengen agreement on borderless travel should be replaced with a new agreement providing border checks for non-EU citizens.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said the EU should forge a single European policy on asylum. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated, "There must be close cooperation between the European Commission and member states as well as candidate members." Sergei Stanishev, President of the Party of European Socialists, stated:
At this moment, more people in the world are displaced by conflict than at any time since the Second World War. ... Many die on the approach to Europe – in the Mediterranean – yet others perish on European soil. ... As social democrats the principle of solidarity is the glue that keeps our family together. ... We need a permanent European mechanism for fairly distributing asylum-seekers in European member states. ... War, poverty and the stark rise in inequality are global, not local problems. As long as we do not address these causes globally, we cannot deny people the right to look for a more hopeful future in a safer environment.
Distribution of refugees among EU member states
In the years preceding the refugee crisis, EU officials had made numerous attempts to coordinate refugee and immigration policies, all of which failed due to stark differences in members' openness to immigration. In April 2015, several months before the massive surge in refugee arrivals, Angela Merkel had called for redistributing asylum seekers across the EU member states.
In May 2015, the European Commission proposed distributing a portion of newly arrived refugees from Syria, Eritrea and Iraq (chosen because applicants from these countries had high rates of success in obtaining asylum) across EU states based on their GDP and population. Countries also had the option of not to accepting any asylum seekers and instead contributing money to support their resettlement in another country. Due to objections from several countries, the idea was never implemented, as decisions by the European Commission generally require unanimity. However, by September that year, the large numbers of refugees arriving in the EU put renewed pressure on leaders to pass meaningful reforms. This time the Commission proposed redistributing 120,000 refugees and forced the plan through on a highly unusual qualified majority vote rather than unanimity.
The plan proved extremely divisive; the countries that had voted against it — Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic — declared their intention to defy the decision and refuse to accept any refugees at all. As a result, even countries voting for it questioned its feasibility. Viktor Orbán, the prime minister of Hungary, began using the issue in political campaigns, claiming the EU was planning to flood Hungary with immigrants. The Czech Secretary for European Affairs Tomáš Prouza commented that "if two or three thousand people who do not want to be here are forced into the Czech Republic, it is fair to assume that they will leave anyway... we can't just move them here and there like a cattle." Meanwhile, western European politicians, particularly from countries with historically high refugee intakes, criticized what they saw as these member states' intransigence. Some called for the EU to reduce funding for member countries that blocked burden-sharing initiatives. French President Hollande declared, "those who don't share our values, those who don't even want to respect those principles, need to start asking themselves questions about their place in the European Union."
In September 2017, the European Court of Justice dismissed legal actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the redistribution system. Nevertheless, the Commission, in the face of continuing opposition by dissenting countries and in acknowledgment of their success in instrumentalizing the issue with domestic voters, abandoned the idea in 2020, although several thousand refugees did ultimately end up being resettled to willing countries.
Common European Asylum System (CEAS)
In 2016 the European Commission began reforming the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) which was initially designed to create a unified asylum system for the EU. In an attempt to create measures for safe and managed paths for legal migration to Europe, the European Commission created five components that sought to satisfy the minimum standards for asylum.
On 13 July 2016, the European Commission introduced the proposals to finalise the CEAS' reform. The reform sought to create a just policy for asylum seekers while providing a new system that was simple and shortened. Ultimately, the reform proposal attempted to create a system that could handle normal and impacted times of migratory pressure.
Reform of the Dublin regulation
The Dublin Regulation was criticised for placing too much responsibility for asylum seekers on member states on the EU's external borders (especially Italy, Greece, Croatia and Hungary), instead of sharing responsibility among EU states. In June 2016, the European Commission proposed reforms to the Dublin Regulation.
Centralized processing of asylum applications
One component of the European Commission's 10-point plan in April 2015, drawn up in response to a deadly shipwreck on April 19, called for the European Asylum Support Office to deploy teams in Italy and Greece to asylum applications to eliminate the need for dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossings.
On 25 October 2015, the leaders of Greece and other states along Western Balkan routes to wealthier nations of Europe, including Germany, agreed to set up holding camps for 100,000 asylum seekers. On 12 November 2015, it was reported that Frontex had been maintaining combined asylum seeker and deportation hotspots in Lesbos, Greece, since October.
Rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea
In 2014, Italy had ended Operation Mare Nostrum, a large-scale naval search-and-rescue operation to save stranded migrants in the Mediterranean, saying the costs were too large for one country alone to manage. The Italian government had requested additional funds from the EU to continue the operation but did not receive sufficient support. The UK government cited fears that the operation was "an unintended 'pull factor', encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and contributing to drownings. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency took over search and rescue operations throughout the Mediterranean under the name Operation Triton, although its budget, equipment and mandate were far more limited than Mare Nostrum. On 18 May 2015, the European Union launched a new operation based in Rome, named EU Navfor Med, under the command of the Italian Admiral Enrico Credendino, to identify, capture and dispose of vessels used by migrant smugglers. By April 2016, the operation rescued more than 13,000 migrants at sea and arrested 68 suspected smugglers.
Non-governmental organizations often filled the vacuum when Italian or EU operations were insufficient to rescue migrant boats in the Mediterranean. Some Italian authorities feared that rather than saving lives, the NGO operations encouraged more people to use the dangerous passage facilitated by human traffickers. In July 2017, Italy drew up a code of conduct for NGO rescue vessels delivering migrants to Italian ports. These rules prohibited coordinating with human traffickers via flares or radio and required vessels to permit police presence on board. More controversially, they also forbade entering the territorial waters of Libya and transferring rescued people onto other vessels, which severely limited the number of people NGOs could save. The Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International criticised the code of conduct and some NGOs, including Doctors Without Borders, eventually suspended rescue operations. In the years following its implementation, Mediterranean Sea crossings dropped considerably, although the degree to which this was caused by the NGO code is disputed. A study conducted from 2014 to 2019 concluded that external factors like weather and the political stability of Libya contributed more to the ebbs and flows of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.
In September 2016, Greek volunteers of the "Hellenic Rescue Team" and human rights activist Efi Latsoudi were awarded the Nansen Refugee Award by the UNHCR "for their tireless volunteer work" in helping refugees arrive in Greece during the 2015 refugee crisis.
April 19 shipwreck
After 700 migrants drowned following a shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea on April 19, EU leaders called for an emergency meeting of European interior ministers. The prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, called the 19 April shipwreck the "biggest human tragedy in recent years". Aydan Özoğuz, the German minister for immigration, refugees, and integration, said that emergency rescue missions in the Mediterranean should recommence as more migrants were likely to arrive as the weather turned warmer. "It was an illusion to think that cutting off Mare Nostrum would prevent people from attempting this dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean", she said.
A previously scheduled routine meeting of EU foreign ministers the day after the shipwreck was dominated by refugee policy and preventing migrant deaths. The same day, the European Commission published a ten-point plan to address deaths in the Mediterranean Sea, which doubled the size and budget of Operation Triton and called for capturing or destroying smuggler boats. On April 23, EU leaders held an emergency summit, where they agreed to triple the budget of Operation Triton to €120 million for the year. Ireland and the United Kingdom both committed patrol boats and helicopters to the rescue effort. Amnesty International criticised the EU's response as "a face-saving not a life-saving operation" and said that "failure to extend Triton's operational area will fatally undermine today's commitment". The EU sought to increase the scope of EU Navfor Med include patrols inside Libyan waters in order to capture and dispose of vessels used by smugglers there. Land operations on Libya to destroy vessels used by smugglers had been proposed, but such an operation would have needed UN or Libyan permission.
Refugee policy in political campaigns
The refugee crisis polarized European society. In Western Europe, large majorities supported accepting refugees fleeing violence and war, while Eastern Europeans were generally more ambivalent. At the same time, however, large majorities also disapproved of the EU's handling of the refugee wave.
As southeastern European countries began seeing large numbers of refugees and migrants began moving through them, political leaders began to capitalize on the uncertainty felt by locals. The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, in particular began to campaign on fear of immigration, calling refugees "Muslim invaders", conflating migrants with terrorism, and claiming that they were part of a "left-wing conspiracy" to gain new voters. In October Czech President Miloš Zeman used similar rhetoric to campaign on opposition to refugees.
The refugee crisis was a major issue in Poland's 2015 parliamentary elections, with then-opposition leader Jarosław Kaczyński in particular stoking fear of immigrants and claiming the EU was planning to flood Poland with Muslims. Under incument prime minister Ewa Kopacz, Poland had agreed to accept 2,000 refugees as part of the European Union's plan to distribute a fraction of that year's arrivals, while at the same time opposing the settlement of "economic migrants". After Kaczyński's Law and Justice party won the elections, Poland rescinded its willingness to cooperate with the European Commission.
In western European countries, although support for refugees was generally high, far-right leaders fiercely opposed allowing the newly arrived refugees to stay. Nigel Farage, leader of the British United Kingdom Independence Party, claimed that Islamists would exploit the situation and enter Europe in large numbers. Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, called the influx of people an "Islamic invasion" and spoke of "masses of young men in their twenties with beards singing Allahu Akbar across Europe". Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far-right National Front, was criticized by German media for implying that Germany was looking to undercut minimum wage laws and hire "slaves".
Tightening of asylum laws
Many countries, even those like Germany that did not set formal limits to refugee intakes, took measures to reduce migration into Europe at the height of the crisis, such as limiting family reunifications. EU leaders also quietly encouraged Balkan governments to only allow nationals from the most war-torn countries (Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq) to pass into the EU.
In December 2015, Denmark passed a law permitting police to confiscate valuables like jewelry and cash from refugees. To date, the police have only enforced the cash-seizing provision.
Limits to refugee intakes
Throughout the crisis, many countries experienced public debates on whether to limit the number of asylum applications they would accept. Proponents argued that such measures were necessary because no country had the capacity to absorb unlimited numbers of refugees, and that limiting refugee inflows would give countries space to deal with the influx properly. Opponents, most notably German chancellor Angela Merkel, argued that limiting the numbers of refugees would undermine the principle of asylum, contravene national or international laws and be physically unworkable. Others noted that the numbers of people arriving was small relative to most EU countries' populations. Some drew parallels to previous refugee waves, such as during World War II when many countries set limits to refugee admissions from Europe, abandoning many victims of Nazism.
Nevertheless, several countries began setting upper limits to the number of asylum applications it would process per year. In January 2016, Austria announced a limit of 37,500 in each of the next four years later temporarily reduced to 80 per day. In 2018, Germany set a "goal" of not exceeding a net intake of 220,000 annually. Germany also suspended family reunifications for beneficiaries of "subsidiary protection" from 2016 to 2018. Sweden did so for all refugees from 2016 to 2019.
In 2015 and following years, many governments also began formally designating certain countries "safe" in order to make it easier to deny asylum applications from and deport people from them. "Safe country lists" usually included the Balkan countries (Kosovo, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia), Georgia, Morocco and Tunisia. Some also controversially listed certain parts of war-torn countries like Iraq or Afghanistan.
Control of EU's external borders
A report by EU inspectors in November 2015 found that Greece failed to identify and register arrivals properly. In February 2016, the EU gave Greece a three-month deadline to fix its border controls, or other member states would be authorized to extend border controls to Greece for up to two years instead of the standard six months. The same month, NATO announced that it would deploy ships in the Aegean Sea to deter smugglers taking migrants from Turkey to Greece. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the mission would not be about "stopping or pushing back refugee boats", but about intelligence gathering and sharing information with Turkey and Greece, which are both NATO members.
On 14 September 2015, Austria instituted border controls and deployed the Austrian Armed Forces to its border with Hungary. On 28 October 2015, Austria built a 91 km long fence along its border with Slovenia.
In November 2015, Sweden reintroduced border controls for arrivals, including the Öresund Bridge. This did not reduce the number of asylum seekers as they had the right to apply for asylum once they were on Swedish ground. In December 2015, Sweden passed a temporary law that allowed the government to oblige all transport companies to check that their passengers carried valid photographic identification before crossing the border. The new law came into effect on 21 December 2015 and was valid until 21 December 2018. It led to a mandatory train change and passage through border control at Copenhagen Airport station for travellers between Copenhagen and Sweden; service frequency was reduced.
Within hours of Swedish border control becoming effective, Denmark created a border control between Denmark and Germany. The migration pattern also changed with the majority of those arriving by ferry from Germany to Trelleborg instead of by train to Hyllie station, which bypassed the border control between Denmark and Germany.
Slovenia established temporary controls on the otherwise unsupervised border with Hungary to the northeast on 17 September 2015, following Germany and Austria's similar actions.
In 2016 the Norwegian government planned a barrier located at the Storskog border crossing. It is made of steel and stands 660 feet (200 m) long and 11 feet (3.4 m) to 12 feet (3.7 m) high. Norwegian officials aimed to complete the barrier before winter temperatures hardened the ground.
On 9 March 2016, Croatia again imposed border restrictions on the border with Serbia in an attempt to reinstate the Schengen rules.
The entry routes through the Western Balkan experienced the highest intensity of border restrictions in the 2015 EU migrant crisis, according to The New York Times and other sources, and are as follows:
|Turkey||Greece||Greece||Greece built a razor-wire fence in 2012 along its short land border with Turkey. In September 2015, Turkish provincial authorities gave approximately 1,700 migrants three days to leave the border zone.|
|Turkey||Bulgaria||Bulgaria||As a result of Greece's diversion of migrants to Bulgaria from Turkey, Bulgaria built its own fence to block migrants crossing from Turkey.|
|Greece||North Macedonia||Macedonian||In November 2015, North Macedonia began erecting a fence along its southern border with Greece to channel the flow of migrants through an official checkpoint as opposed to limiting migrant influx. Beginning in November 2015, Greek police permitted only Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans to cross into North Macedonia. In February, Macedonian soldiers began erecting a second fence meters away from the previous one.|
|Serbia||Hungary||Hungarian||Hungary built a 175-km (109-mi) razor-wire fence along its border with Serbia in 2015.|
|Croatia||Hungary||Hungary||Hungary built a 40-km (25-mi) razor-wire fence along its border with Croatia in 2015. On 16 October 2015, Hungary announced that it would close off its border to migrants entering from Croatia.|
|Croatia||Slovenia||Slovenia||Slovenia blocked transit from Croatia in September 2015 and pepper sprayed migrants trying to cross. Although Slovenia reopened the border on 18 October 2015, it restricted crossing to 2,500 migrants per day.|
|Hungary||Austria||Austria planned to put border controls into effect along its border with Hungary in September 2015, and officials said the controls could stay in effect under European Union rules for up to six months.|
|Russia||Norway||On 25 January 2016, Russia closed its northern border checkpoint with Norway for asylum seekers being return to Russia. While the announcement was noted as closure of the border, it only considered returning asylum seekers and is only a partial closure of the border.|
|Russia||Finland||On 4 December 2015, Finland temporarily closed one of its land border crossings by lowering the border gate and blocking the road with a car. The closure was only applied to asylum seekers and lasted a couple of hours. On 27 December 2015, Finland closed its Russian border to cyclists and allegedly only enforced the rule at the Raja-Jooseppi and Salla checkpoints, as earlier more and more asylum seekers had crossed the border on bikes.|
|Austria||Germany||Germany placed temporary travel restrictions from Austria by rail in 2015 but imposed the least onerous restrictions for migrants entering by the Western Balkans route in 2015, in the context that Chancellor Angela Merkel had insisted that Germany will not limit the number of refugees it accepts.|
Article 26 of the Schengen Convention states that carriers which transport people who are refused into the Schengen area shall pay for both penalties and the return of the refused people. Further clauses on this topic are found in EU directive 2001/51/EC. This prevented migrants without a visa from being allowed on aircraft, boats, or trains entering the Schengen Area, and caused them to resort to migrant smugglers. Humanitarian visas are generally not given to refugees who want to apply for asylum.
The laws on migrant smuggling forbid helping migrants pass any national border if the migrants do not have permission to enter. This has caused many airlines to check for visas and refuse passage to migrants without visas, including through international flights inside the Schengen Area. After being refused air passage, many migrants attempted to travel overland to their destination country. According to a study carried out for the European Parliament, "penalties for carriers, who assume some of the control duties of the European police services, either block asylum-seekers far from Europe's borders or force them to pay more and take greater risks to travel illegally". It has been argued that the official policy (at least in some countries like Sweden) of free right to apply for asylum, is counteracted by this "carriers' responsibility," forcing refugees to use an illegal and dangerous route by using criminal smugglers, to exercise a right that many say should not be denied.
Migration Partnership Framework
The Tampere Program started in 1999 outlines the EU's policy on migration and presents a certain openness towards freedom, security, and justice. It focuses on two issuesː the development of a common asylum system and the enhancement of external border controls. The externalization of borders with Turkey is essentially the transfer of border controls and management to foreign countries, which are in close proximity to EU countries. The EU's decision to externalize its borders puts significant pressure on non-EU countries to cooperate with EU political forces.
The Migration Partnership Framework introduced in 2016 implements greater resettlement of migrants and alternative legal routes for migration. Its goals align with the EU's efforts throughout the refugee crisis to deflect responsibility and legal obligations away from EU member states and onto transit and origin countries. By directing migrant flows to third countries,[clarification needed] policies place responsibilities on third-world countries[clarification needed]. States with insufficient resources are legally mandated to ensure the protection of migrants' rights, including the right to asylum. Destination states under border externalization strategies are responsible for rights violated outside their own territory. Fundamental rights of migrants can be impacted while externalizing borders; for example, child migrants are recognized to have special status under international law, though they are vulnerable to trafficking and other crimes while in transit.
The Valletta Summit on Migration between European and African leaders was held in Valletta, Malta, on 11 and 12 November 2015 to discuss the migrant crisis. The summit resulted in the EU creating an Emergency Trust Fund to promote development in Africa, in return for African countries to help out in the crisis.
Germany announced new development aid for and security partnerships with Niger, which serves as a transit countries for many migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa, and Ethiopia, which hosts 750,000 refugees from other countries.
At a time of diplomatic tensions with the Hungarian government, Merkel publicly pledged that Germany would offer temporary residency to refugees. Combined with television footage of cheering Germans welcoming refugees and migrants arriving in Munich, large numbers of migrants were persuaded to move from Turkey up the Western Balkan route.
On 4 September 2015, Germany decided to admit the thousands of refugees who were stranded in Hungary and sent to the Austrian border by Hungarian prime minister Orban. With that decision, Angela Merkel reportedly aimed to prevent disturbances at the German borders. Tens of thousands of refugees traveled from Hungary via Vienna into Germany in the days following 4 September 2015.
Analyst Will Hutton for the British newspaper The Guardian praised Merkel's decisions on migration policies on 30 August 2015: "Angela Merkel's humane stance on migration is a lesson to us all… The German leader has stood up to be counted. Europe should rally to her side… She wants to keep Germany and Europe open, to welcome legitimate asylum seekers in common humanity, while doing her very best to stop abuse and keep the movement to manageable proportions. Which demands a European-wide response (…)".
Turkey Agreement: Locating migrants to safe country
The EU proposed a plan to the Turkish government in which Turkey would take back every refugee who entered Greece (and thereby the EU) illegally; in return, the EU would accept one person into the EU who is registered as a Syrian refugee in Turkey for every Syrian sent back from Greece. In November, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reportedly threatened to send the millions of refugees in Turkey to EU member states if it was left to shoulder the burden alone. On 12 November 2015, at the end of the Valletta Summit in Malta, EU officials announced an agreement to offer Turkey €3 billion over two years to manage more than 2 million refugees from Syria who had sought refuge there in return for curbing migration through Turkey into the EU. The €3 billion fund for Turkey was approved by the EU in February 2016.
In January 2016, the Netherlands proposed a plan that the EU take in 250,000 refugees a year from Turkey in return for Turkey closure of the Aegean sea route to Greece, which Turkey rejected. On 7 March 2016, the EU met with Turkey for another summit in Brussels to negotiate further solutions of the crisis. The original plan was to declare the Western Balkan route closed, but it was met with criticism from Merkel. Turkey countered the offer by demanding a further €3 billion in order to help them supply aid to the 2.7 million refugees in Turkey. In addition, the Turkish government asked for their citizens to be allowed to travel freely into the Schengen area starting at the end of June 2016, as well as expedited talks of a possible accession of Turkey to the European Union. The plan to send migrants back to Turkey was criticized on 8 March 2016 by the United Nations, which warned that it could be illegal to send the migrants back to Turkey in exchange for financial and political rewards.
On 20 March 2016, an agreement between the European Union and Turkey was enacted to discourage migrants from making the dangerous sea journey from Turkey to Greece. Under its terms, migrants arriving in Greece would be sent back to Turkey if they did not apply for asylum or their claim was rejected, whilst the EU would send around 2,300 experts, including security and migration officials and translators, to Greece in order to help implement the deal.
It was also agreed upon that any irregular migrants who crossed into Greece from Turkey after 20 March 2016 would be sent back to Turkey based on an individual case-by-case evaluation. Any Syrian returned to Turkey would be replaced by a Syrian resettled from Turkey to the EU; they would preferably be the individuals who did not try to enter the EU illegally in the past. Allowed migrants would not exceed a maximum of 72,000 people. Turkish nationals would have access to the Schengen passport-free zone by June 2016 but would exclude non-Schengen countries such as the UK. The talks about Turkey's accession to the EU as a member began in July 2016 and $3.3 billion in aid was to be delivered to Turkey. The talks were suspended in November 2016 after the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt. A similar threat was raised as the European Parliament voted to suspend EU membership talks with Turkey in November 2016: "if you go any further," Erdoğan declared, "these border gates will be opened. Neither me nor my people will be affected by these dry threats."
Migrants from Greece to Turkey were to be given medical checks, registered, fingerprinted, and bused to "reception and removal" centres. before being deported to their home countries. UNHCR director Vincent Cochetel claimed in August 2016 that parts of the deal were already suspended because of the post-coup absence of Turkish police at the Greek detention centres to oversee deportations.
The UNHCR said it was not a party to the EU-Turkey deal and would not be involved in returns or detention. Like the UNHCR, four aid agencies (Médecins Sans Frontières, the International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children) said they would not help to implement the EU-Turkey deal because blanket expulsion of refugees contravened international law.
Amnesty International said that the agreement between EU and Turkey was "madness", and that 18 March 2016 was "a dark day for Refugee Convention, Europe and humanity". Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkey and EU had the same challenges, the same future, and the same destiny. Donald Tusk said that the migrants in Greece would not be sent back to dangerous areas.
On 17 March 2017, Turkish interior minister Süleyman Soylu threatened to send 15,000 refugees to the European Union every month, while Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also threatened to cancel the deal.
On 9 October 2019, the Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria began. Within the first week and a half 130,000 people were displaced. On 10 October it was reported that President Erdoğan had threatened to send "millions" of Syrian refugees to Europe in response to criticism of his military offensive into Kurdish-controlled northern Syria. On 27 February 2020, a senior Turkish official said Turkish police, coast guard and border security officials had received orders to no longer stop refugees' land and sea crossings to Europe.
Changes in Schengen & Dublin
As most asylum seekers try to reach comparatively welcoming Northern European countries like Germany or Sweden through other EU member states, many of which form the borderless Schengen area, enforcing the Dublin Regulation became increasingly difficult in the late summer of 2015, with some countries allowing asylum seekers to transit through their territories, renouncing the right to return them, or reinstating border controls within the Schengen Area to prevent them from entering. In July 2017, the European Court of Justice upheld the Dublin Regulation, despite the high influx in 2015, affirmed the right of EU member states to deport migrants to their first EU country of entry.
Countries responded in different ways:
- Hungary became overburdened by asylum applications and on 23 June 2015 stopped receiving returned applicants who had crossed the borders to other EU countries. Later in the year, migrants in southern Hungary started a hunger strike in protest against the closure of the border with Serbia. Hungarian police used tear gas and a water cannon on the protesters after they threw stones and concrete at the riot police.
- In mid-September, Germany established temporary border controls along its border with Austria to allow for more orderly processing of incoming refugees. The Czech Republic reacted by increasing its police presence along its border with Austria in anticipation of the mass of migrants in Austria trying to reach Germany through the Czech Republic.
- On September 9, Denmark briefly closed rail lines to Germany after hundreds of migrants refused to be registered in the country as asylum seekers and insisted on continuing on to Sweden.
- On 7 September, Austria began phasing out special measures that had allowed tens of thousands of migrants to cross its territory and reinstated the Dublin Regulation.
- After Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann's made remarks likening Hungary's treatment of refugees to Nazi policies, Hungary started transporting refugees by bus directly to the border with Austria, where they were offloaded and tried to cross to Austria on foot.
Management of immigration
in € Mil.
in € per
The table above summarizes the 1.7 million asylum applicants in 2015 cost €18 billion in maintenance costs in 2016, with the total 2015 and 2016 asylum caseload costing €27.3 billion (27.296 in € Mil.) in 2016. Sweden is observed to bear the heaviest cost.
On 15 December 2015 the EU proposed taking over the border and coastal security operations at major migrant entry pressure points via its Frontex operation.
Crime by immigrants
In the time during and immediately after the refugee crisis, crimes committed by immigrants were often widely publicised and seized upon by opponents of immigration.
During 2015, foreign fighters who had joined the Islamic state travelled with the migration flow back to Europe. In the January 2016-April 2017 period, four asylum seekers were involved in terrorist incidents, but none who had been granted refugee status. Most of the terrorist attacks in Europe in the period were carried out by citizens of European countries. In 2015, Swedish authorities reported 500 cases of suspected terrorism links or war criminals to the Swedish Security Service. Twenty individuals were denied asylum in Sweden in 2015 due to suspected involvement in war crimes.
On November 13, 2015, a group of men consisting of both EU citizens and non-citizens detonated suicide bombs at a football stadium, fired on crowded cafes and took hostage a concert hall of 1500 people. 130 people died in the attacks. Although very few of the perpetrators came to Europe as asylum seekers, the event sparked a public debate on asylum policy and the need for counterterrorism measures. German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel defended Germany's and the EU's refugee policy and pointed out that most migrants are fleeing terrorism.
In January 2016, 18 of 31 men suspected of violent assaults on women in Cologne on New Year's Eve were identified as asylum seekers, prompting calls by German officials to deport convicted criminals who may be seeking asylum; these sexual attacks brought about a new wave of anti-immigrant protests across Europe. Merkel said "wir schaffen das" during the violence and crime by German immigrants, including the 2016 Munich shooting, the 2016 Ansbach bombing, and the Würzburg train attack.
In 2016, the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa reported that officials from Europol conducted an investigation into the trafficking of fake documents for ISIL. They identified fake Syrian passports in the refugee camps in Greece that were for supposed members of ISIL to avoid Greek security and make their way to other parts of Europe. The chief of Europol also said that a new task force of 200 counter-terrorism officers would be deployed to the Greek islands alongside Greek border guards in order to help Greece stop a "strategic" level campaign by ISIL to infiltrate terrorists into Europe.
In October 2016 Danish immigration minister Inger Støjberg reported 50 cases of suspected radicalised asylum seekers at asylum centres. The reports ranged from adult Islamic State sympathisers celebrating terror attacks to violent children who dress up as IS fighters decapitating teddy bears. Støjberg expressed her frustration at asylum seekers ostensibly fleeing war yet simultaneously supporting violence. Asylum centres that detected radicalisation routinely reported their findings to police. The 50 incidents were reported between 17 November 2015 and 14 September 2016.
In February 2017, British newspaper The Guardian reported that ISIL was paying the smugglers fees of up to $2,000 USD to recruit people from refugee camps in Jordan and in a desperate attempt to radicalize children for the group. The reports by counter-extremism think tank Quilliam indicated that an estimated 88,300 unaccompanied children—who are reported as missing—were at risk of radicalization by ISIL.
Crime against immigrants
In October, a plot by neo-Nazis to attack a refugee center with explosives, knives, a baseball bat, and a gun was foiled by German police. Nazi magazines and memorabilia from the Third Reich, flags emblazoned with banned swastikas were found. According to the prosecutor the goal was "to establish fear and terror among asylum-seekers". The accused claimed to be either the members of Die Rechte, or anti-Islam group Pegida (Nügida).
In November 2016, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor issued a report in regards to the humanitarian situation of migrants into Greece. It hosted 16,209 migrants on its island and 33,650 migrants on the mainland, most of whom were women and children. Because of the lack of water, medical care and security protection witnessed by the Euro- Med monitor team- especially with the arrival of winter, they were at risk of serious health deterioration. 1,500 refugees were moved into other places since their camps were deluged with snow, but relocation of the refugees always came too late after they lived without electricity and heating devices for too long. It showed that there was a lack of access to legal services and protection for the refugees and migrants in the camps; there was no trust between the residents and the protection offices. In addition, migrants were subject to regular xenophobic attacks, fascist violence, forced strip searches at the hands of residents and police, and detention. Women living in the Athens settlements and the Vasilika, Softex and Diavata camps felt worried about their children as they may be subjected to sexual abuse, trafficking and drug use. As a result, some of the refugees and migrants committed suicide, burned property and protested. The report clarified the difficulties the refugees face when entering into Greece; more than 16,000 people were trapped while awaiting deportation on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos, which is twice the capacity of the five islands.
In August 2017 dozens of Afghan asylum seekers demonstrated in a square in Stockholm against their pending deportations. They were attacked by a group of 15–16 men who threw fireworks at them. Three protesters were injured and one was taken to hospital. No one was arrested.
Support systems by local communities and NGOs
There are a number of support systems that aid the integration of refugees and asylum seekers in their host country. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, working with partners, is providing a broad range of support and assistance in Europe for refugees and asylum-seekers. These efforts include humanitarian and cash assistance, provision of accommodation and support to improve reception conditions, prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, protection monitoring and interventions, engaging with refugee communities to enhance their participation and including their voice in their voice in the response, identification and support to persons with specific needs, including separated and unaccompanied children, and referral to appropriate services. The Voice of Young Refugees in Europe provide a support and educational network for young refugees. Many refugees arrive in Europe with a great diversity of skills, experience and specialisations that could make tangible contributions to the EU workforce. In the UK, the Refugee Council organisation provides support and advice to refugees and asylum seekers. The Building Bridges Partnership in the UK was set up to support refugee health professionals re-qualify in the UK. Other organisations include Transitions, a social enterprise that provides advice and helps refugees find placements depending on their qualifications and skills.
There were also various humanitarian and non-governmental organisations, mostly from Slovenia, Croatia and Austria, aiding the migrants on the border.
Around half of asylum applications were made by young adults between 18 and 34 years of age; 96,000 reguees were unaccompanied minors. Around three-quarters of applications were by men. The gender imbalance among refugees reaching Europe has multiple related causes, most significantly the dangerous and expensive nature of the journey. Men with families often travel to Europe with the intent of applying for family reunification once their asylum request is granted. In addition, in many countries, such as Syria, men are at greater risk of being forcibly conscripted or killed.
Developing countries hosted the largest share of refugees (86 percent by the end of 2014, the highest figure in more than two decades); the least developed countries alone provided asylum to 25 percent of refugees worldwide. Even though most Syrian refugees were hosted by neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, the number of asylum applications lodged by Syrian refugees in Europe steadily increased between 2011 and 2015, totaling 813,599 in 37 European countries (including both EU members and non-members) as of November 2015; 57 percent of them applied for asylum in Germany or Serbia.
Migrants from the Western Balkans (Kosovo, Albania, Serbia) and parts of West Africa (The Gambia, Nigeria) were more likely to be economic migrants, who were fleeing poverty and job scarcity. The majority of asylum applicants from Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro are Roma people who felt discriminated against in their countries of origin.
Some argue that migrants have been seeking to settle preferentially in national destinations that offer more generous social welfare benefits and host more established Middle Eastern and African immigrant communities. Others argue that migrants are attracted to more tolerant societies with stronger economies, and that the chief motivation for leaving Turkey is that they are not permitted to leave camps or work. A large number of refugees in Turkey have been faced with difficult living circumstances; thus, many refugees arriving in southern Europe continue their journey in attempts to reach northern European countries such as Germany, which are observed as having more prominent outcomes of security. In contrast to Germany, France's popularity eroded in 2015 among migrants seeking asylum after being historically considered a popular final destination for the EU migrants.
The influx from states like Nigeria and Pakistan is a mix of economic migrants and refugees fleeing from violence and war such as the Boko Haram insurgency in northeastern Nigeria and the War in North-West Pakistan.
Perspectives of refugees and asylum seekers
British Somali poet Warsan Shire's poem 'Home' has become a popular depiction of the refugee experience amongst refugees and asylum seekers, particularly the line “You have to understand...no one puts their children in a boat, unless the water is safer than the land.”
Death of Alan Kurdi
Images of the body of a 3-year-old Syrian boy named Alan Kurdi (after he drowned on 2 September 2015) are widely believed to have shifted public opinion on the 'European migrant crisis' as well as the opinions of world leaders. Kurdi and his family were Syrian refugees, and 3-year-old Alan died alongside his brother and mother – only his father survived the journey, telling CNN "[e]verything I was dreaming of is gone. I want to bury my children and sit beside them until I die." Kurdi's body was photographed by Turkish journalist Nilüfer Demir.
Pegida, a far right political movement, was founded in Dresden in October 2014 with the stated goal of curbing immigration and campaigning for stricter enforcement of immigration laws. On 9 January 2016 about 1,700 people joined a 'PEGIDA' demonstration. Following the demonstrations representatives of Pegida, including Pegida Austria, Pegida Bulgaria, and Pegida Netherlands published their Fortress Europe on 23 January 2016. The English-language document stated that it is duty to stand up against "political Islam, extreme Islamic regimes and their European collaborators." During this period a far-right position Eurabia went mainstream, which was a far-right Islamophobic conspiracy theory, involving globalist entities allegedly led by French and Arab powers, to Islamise and Arabise Europe, thereby weakening its existing culture and undermining a previous alignment with the U.S. and Israel.
In 2015, members of the far-right, anti-immigration group Britain First organised protest marches. According to a 2015 analysis, Islamophobic groups in Britain were capitalizing on public concerns following the Paris attacks and ongoing refugee crisis; 24 different far-right groups were also attempted to provoke a cultural civil war. Other groups included Pegida UK and Liberty GB. Liberty GB was an anti-immigration political party. Liberty GB's chairman was Paul Weston who writes about impending civil war against Muslims and "white genocide" in Britain. These groups used the theory of the Great Replacement, which French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy dismissed as a "junk idea", in their messaging.
On 25 December 2015, a Muslim prayer hall was raided in Ajaccio, an act which French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said was "an unacceptable desecration". The raiders had assumed that a recent crime in the town had been carried out by the immigrant population of the town. The 2015 Corsican protests continued couple more days, as hundreds defied protest ban. Another riot in the same year, the 2015 Geldermalsen riot, was ignited after the town council's decision to establish an asylum centre for 1,500 asylum seekers in the Dutch town of Geldermalsen. Protests and subsequent violence in Chemnitz on 26 August following reignited tensions in Germany surrounding immigration to Germany. Alternative for Germany, a far-right German nationalist party, won more than 25% of the vote in the state of Saxony.
Responses to right-wing positions included Birlikte, a series of semi-annual rallies and corresponding cultural festivals against right-wing extremist violence in Germany. Birlikte events comprised a mixture of speeches and multi-cultural music performances.
On 12 September 2015, tens of thousands of people took part in a "day of action" in several European cities in support of refugees and migrants. At the same day, rallies against migrants took place in some eastern European countries.
On 18 February 2017, tens of thousands of demonstrators [carrying signs reading "Enough excuses, welcome them now"] marched after Ada Cola's [mayor] call for more immigrants at the protest "Volem acollir".
Surveys on immigration
The Pew study links the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the right-wing parties across the continent and the heated debate over the UK’s decision to exit the European Union to the surge of refugees into Europe. There were sharp and deep ideological divides among the public over their views of minorities and diversity represented by these immigrants. Negative attitudes toward immigrants were tied to a belief that these groups do not wish to participate in their society.
A study published by Pew Research Center on 11 July 2016 concluded that "Europeans fear [that a] wave of refugees means more terrorism, fewer jobs". Half of the population in Italy and Sweden blame crime on immigrants.
A study published by Pew Research Center in 2016 concluded that half of the respondents felt that immigrants would take away jobs and social benefits; Hungarians, Poles, Greeks, Italians and French identified losing jobs and social benefits as their first concern.
In a 2016 poll, refugees, unemployment, and refugees taking away jobs were the issues that ordinary Finns were most concerned about. The original study in Finland found that immigration was a marginal concern in the early 2010s, however the economy was a concern since the neighboring Soviet Union, significant export market, collapsed in the 1990s. The original study found that around 30% believe that uncontrolled immigration was a problem. This ratio was 40% under the age of 25, people who were often looking for jobs themselves. More women than men consider it a problem.
The debate on the Muslim immigrants moved into the center of European discourse. Muslim immigration presented as a cultural threat to the future of Europe, using the argument "Muslim immigration is an incompatible ontological category predicated on culture [they don't share our values!]." Public discourse [across Western Europe] concentrated on Muslims and Islam with a wide spectrum claim that Islam is incompatible with the values of Europe. EU states such as Slovakia have openly rejected to accept the refugees either because they do not want the Brussels to impose immigration policies and/or because they simply do not want Muslims or non-Europeans in their communities. A study released by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights found out that almost 40% of Muslims (focused on first- and second-generation immigrants) surveyed reported discrimination in their daily life.
A study published in 2016 by Royal Institute of International Affairs surveyed 10,000 people in ten European states found that 55% agreed with the statement that ‘all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped’, with the strongest support for this sentiment coming from Austria, Poland, Hungary, France and Belgium A study published by Pew Research Center in 2016 concluded that attitudes towards migrants were deeply connected to individual values and people who have a more negative view of Muslims are also much more concerned about the threat [refugees leaving Iraq and Syria are a major threat to their country].
|Public anxiety over immigration|
|Source: Chatham House|
|Public anxiety over immigration|
|Source: European Social Survey Round 7|
TNS Gallup for Berlingske found out that two out of three (64%) Danes want to restrict immigration from Muslim countries.
The public perception of the migrant crisis from the Hungarian point of view characterized as anti-immigration since 2015. Muslim immigrants are perceived as a symbolic threat to the dominant—mostly Christian—Western culture and [specifically in the Hungarian context] asylum seekers with a Christian background are more welcomed than those with a Muslim background.
The 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum took place on 23 June 2016. The UK voted to leave the European Union by 51.89% to 48.11% for Remain. According to opinion polls, the motivation for leaving the EU was a belief that doing so would be "more likely to bring about a better immigration system, improved border controls, a fairer welfare system, better quality of life, and the ability to control our own laws." In the same poll, 33% of the public stated that leaving the EU "offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders".
The migration crisis was one of the defining issues in the Leave campaign. Whilst Vote Leave argued that the UK should leave the EU for predominantly economic reasons, the arguments of Leave.EU were based upon controlling immigration. This gave a sharper focus to the slogan “taking back control” solidifying opposition to the EU and European human rights law, as both were perceived as a barrier to immigration control. The crisis created the image of a Union unable to handle the situation, and "Leave" campaigners noted Turkey's application to join the EU thus raising the prospect of Turkish citizens gaining freedom of movement.
Theresa May, then Home Secretary, declared that Britain should withdraw from the European convention on human rights (ECHR) irrespective of the EU referendum result. Addressing an audience at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, she staked out her position. Although she was against Brexit as a method of regulating immigration, she was supportive of the UK being able to control its own policy regarding refugees:
"The ECHR can bind the hands of parliament, adds nothing to our prosperity, makes us less secure by preventing the deportation of dangerous foreign nationals—and does nothing to change the attitudes of governments like Russia’s when it comes to human rights . . . it isn’t the EU we should leave but the ECHR and the jurisdiction of its court."— Home Secretary, Theresa May
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), up to 3,072 people died or disappeared in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to migrate to Europe in 2014. Overall, it is estimated that over 22,000 migrants died between 2000 and 2014.
In 2014, around 252,000 new migrants arrived "irregularly" in the European Union, often coming from Syria, Somalia or Eritrea, often having travelled oversea from Libya. 220,194 migrants crossed EU sea borders in the Central, Eastern and Western Mediterranean (a 266 percent increase compared to 2013); half of them had come from Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan.
IOM and UNHCR estimated that 1,005,504 migrants and refugees arrived in Europe from 1 January to 21 December 2015, three to four times more than in 2014. 3 percent (34,215) arrived to Bulgaria and Greece by land; the rest arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Malta by sea. The vast majority arrived by sea in Greece (816,752); 150,317 arrived by sea in Italy, with a slight drop from 170,000 in 2014. Half of the migrants crossing the Mediterranean were from Syria, 20 percent were from Afghanistan and 7 percent from Iraq. IOM estimated that a total of 3,692 migrants and refugees lost their lives in the Mediterranean in 2015 – over 400 more than in 2014 – of whom 2,889 died in the Central Mediterranean and 731 died in the Aegean sea.
In January and February 2016, over 123,000 migrants landed in Greece, compared to about 4,600 in the same period of 2015. In March, following North Macedonia's closure of the Western Balkan route and the enforcement of the EU–Turkey deal on 20 March, the number of migrants arriving in Greece decreased to 26,460, less than half the figure recorded in February. Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis continued to account for the largest share of the migrants arriving in Greece. This downward trend continued in April when only 2,700 migrants arrived in Greece, a 90 percent decrease when compared to the previous month.
Due to improved weather conditions, the number of mainly African migrants crossing the sea to Italy doubled between February and March, reaching nearly 9,600 in March 2016, compared to 2,283 in March 2015. In April, the number of migrants arriving in Italy (8,370) dropped by 13 percent compared to the previous month and by 50 percent when compared to the same month in 2015; despite this, Italy exceeded the totals for Greece for the first time since June 2015. On 16 April, a shipwreck of a large boat between Libya and Italy was reported, in which as many as 500 people may have died.
The mass influx of migrants into Europe was not seen as favourable in many EU countries. Many citizens disapproved of how EU handled the migrant crisis, with 94 percent of Greeks and 88 percent of Swedes disapproving of the measures taken, among other countries with similar disapproval rates. These findings contributed to the creation and implementation of the EU–Turkey Refugee Agreement, which was signed in March 2016; the numbers of refugees entering Greece decreased afterwards. In February 2016, 57,066 migrants arrived in Greece from the sea. From that point on, discounting March, the highest number of migrants reaching Greece by sea was 3,650 in April. While there is no direct connection to the implementation of the EU–Turkey deal, the number of migrants arriving in Italy in that same time period increased. From March 2016 to October 2016, 140,358 migrants arrived in Italy by sea and averaged 20,051 migrants per month. Overall the number of migrants arriving into the EU dropped, but the EU still worked to create agencies and plans to mitigate the crisis. In addition to the EU–Turkey Refugee Agreement, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency was launched on 6 October 2016.
Data released by the IOM for the third quarter of 2017 recorded a total of 146,287 arrivals to Europe, of which 137,771 were by sea, which is less than half the total recorded by the end of September 2016. The greatest decrease in influx was noted on the Eastern Mediterranean route. Despite an 86 percent drop in the number of migrant and refugee arrivals in September 2017 when compared to September 2016, Greece observed a steady increase in the number of migrants from September 2016. While Italy also noted lower numbers of arriving migrants in 2017, there was a significant jump in the number of migrants reaching Spain, with over 16,000 having arrived in the country. In 2017, ease of access via the West Mediterranean route had boosted migrant numbers from Africa, with preference being given to Spain over Italy or Greece as a landing point.
Closure of segments of some traffic-heavy routes such as the Central and Eastern Mediterranean is responsible for the marked decrease in the number of migrants from the Middle East in 2017. However, the Western Mediterranean route was still in full use to facilitate the growing number of illegal immigrants from Africa. Nigerians topped the list of illegal immigrants into Italy in 2017 and formed 16 percent of arrivals there.
In February 2017 the Italian government agreed to fund the Libyan coast guard. Since then many migrants were forced to go back to Libya.
In 2017, approximately 825,000 persons acquired citizenship of a member state of the European Union, down from 995,000 in 2016. The largest groups were Moroccan, Albanian, Indian, Turkish and Pakistani nationals.
According to a UN report, more than 45,000 migrants had reached Europe by sea by August, of whom 859 had reportedly died in transit.
In late September 2020, Cyprus authorities were reported to have abandoned 200 migrant workers at sea without fuel and food. The migrants alleged that their asylum claims were ignored and were instead beaten in some cases by the Greek Cypriot marine police officers. The United Nations peacekeepers reported that during their rescue in Lebanon, at least 13 people had either died or been lost at sea.
|Cote d'Ivoire|| |
|Rest of the world|| |
According to Eurostat, EU member states received 626,065 asylum applications in 2014, the highest number since the 672,000 applications received in 1992. The main countries of origin of asylum seekers, accounting for almost half of the total, were Syria (20 percent), Afghanistan (7 percent), Kosovo (6 percent), Eritrea (6 percent) and Albania.
In 2014, decisions on asylum applications in the EU made in the first instance[clarification needed] resulted in more than 160,000 asylum seekers being granted protection status, while a further 23,000 received protection status on appeal. The rate of recognition of asylum applicants was 45 percent at the first instance and 18 percent on appeal. The main beneficiaries of protection status, accounting for more than half of the total, were Syrians (68,300, 37 percent), Eritreans (14,600, 8 percent) and Afghans (14,100, 8 percent).
Four countries – Germany, Sweden, Italy and France – received around two-thirds of the EU's asylum applications and granted almost two-thirds of the applicants protection status in 2014. Sweden, Hungary and Austria were among the top recipients of EU asylum applications per capita, when adjusted for their own populations, with 8.4 asylum seekers per 1,000 inhabitants in Sweden, 4.3 in Hungary, and 3.2 in Austria.
In 2015, EU member states received 1,255,640 first-time asylum applications, more than double that of the previous year. The highest number of first-time applicants was registered in Germany (with 441,800 applicants, or 35 percent of all applicants in EU states), followed by Hungary (174,400, 14 percent), Sweden (156,100, 12 percent), Austria (85,500, 7 percent), Italy (83,200, 7 percent) and France (70,600, 6 percent). Compared with the population, the highest number was registered in Hungary (with 17.7 asylum seekers per 1,000 inhabitants), Sweden (16), Austria (10), Finland (5.9), and Germany (5.4). The three main countries of citizenship of asylum applicants, accounting for more than half of the total, were Syria (362,800 or 29 percent), Afghanistan (178,200, 14 percent), and Iraq (121,500, 10 percent), followed by Kosovo (5 percent), Albania (5 percent), Pakistan (4 percent), Eritrea (3 percent), Nigeria (2 percent), and Iran (2 percent).
333,350 asylum applicants were granted protection in the EU in 2015 after their asylum applications were accepted. The main beneficiaries of protection status were citizens of Syria (50 percent of persons granted protection in the EU), Eritrea (8 percent), Iraq (7 percent), Afghanistan (5 percent), Iran (2 percent), Somalia (2 percent) and Pakistan (2 percent). The EU countries who granted protection to the highest number of asylum seekers were Germany (who granted protection to 148,200 people), Sweden (34,500), Italy (29,600) and France (26,000). The rate of recognition—the share of positive decisions in the total number of decisions—was 52 percent for first-instance decisions in the EU and 14 percent for decisions on appeal. The citizenships with the highest recognition rates at first instance were Syria (97.2 percent), Eritrea (89.8 percent), Iraq (85.7 percent), Afghanistan (67 percent), Iran (64.7 percent), Somalia (63.1 percent) and Sudan (56 percent).
From January to March 2015, the number of new asylum applicants in the EU was 184,800, an 86 percent increase when compared with the same quarter in the previous year. More than half applied for asylum in Germany (40 percent) or Hungary (18 percent). The main nationalities of the applicants were Kosovo (48,875 or 26 percent), Syria (29,100 or 16 percent), and Afghanistan (12,910 or 7 percent). In the second quarter of 2015, 213,200 people applied for asylum in the EU, a 15 percent increase compared with the previous quarter. 38 percent applied for asylum in Germany, followed by Hungary (15 percent) and Austria (8 percent). The main countries of citizenship of asylum seekers, accounting for more than half of the total, were Syria (21 percent), Afghanistan (13 percent), Albania (8 percent), Iraq (6 percent), and Kosovo (5 percent). From July to September 2015, EU countries received 413,800 first-time asylum applications, almost double the number registered from April to June 2015. Germany and Hungary were the top recipients, with 26 percent each of total applicants. One-third of asylum seekers were Syrians (33 percent), followed by Afghans (14 percent), and Iraqis (11 percent). In the fourth quarter of 2015, there were 426,000 first-time applicants, mainly Syrians (145,130), Afghans (79,255), and Iraqis (53,585). The top recipients were Germany (38 percent), Sweden (21 percent), and Austria (7 percent).
In August 2015, the German government announced that it expected to receive 800,000 asylum applications by the end of the year. Data released by Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in January 2016 showed that Germany received 476,649 asylum applications in 2015, mainly from Syrians (162,510), Albanians (54,762), Kosovars (37,095), Afghans (31,902), Iraqis (31,379), Serbians (26,945), Macedonians (14,131), Eritreans (10,990), and Pakistanis (8,472). In 2015, Germany made 282,762 decisions on asylum applications; the overall asylum recognition rate was 49.8 percent (140,915 applicants were granted protection). The most successful applicants were Syrians (101,419 positive decisions; 96% recognition rate), Eritreans (9,300 positive decisions; 92.1% recognition rate) and Iraqis (14,880 positive decisions; 88.6% recognition rate).
Sweden received 162,877 asylum applications in 2015, mainly from Syrians (51,338), Afghans (41,564), Iraqis (20,857), Eritreans (7,231) and Somalis (5,465). In 2015, Sweden granted protection to 32,631 asylum applicants and rejected 9,524 applications (a 77% approval rate). The main beneficiaries of protection were Syrians (18,523 positive decisions; 100% recognition rate), Eritreans (6,542 positive decisions; 100% recognition rate) and Afghans (1,088 positive decisions; 74% recognition rate).
|EU28 Asylum applicants by origin, in 2016|
|Source: Eurostat, série migr_asyappctza|
In 2016, according to Eurostat, most of the non-EU 28 asylum seekers in EU 28 originated from Syria. Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq together constituted 50 percent of all asylum seekers.
The second quarter of 2017 recorded a 54 percent decrease in the number of first-time asylum applicants compared to April–June 2016, and 11 percent fewer applicants than January–March 2017. The greatest number of applications were from Syria, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. However, the number of Syrians and Afghans was less than that of the same time in 2016, suggesting that the peak of this crisis had passed. The increasing number of illegal immigrants from Africa suggests that the direction of the crisis changed. While Germany recorded the highest number of first-time applicants (over 49,000), Spain saw a 30 percent increase in the number of asylum seekers, along with Cyprus and Bulgaria.
Migrant arrivals versus "illegal" border crossings
The EU Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) uses the terms "illegal" and "irregular" border crossings for crossings of an EU external border but not at an official border-crossing point (BCP). These include the crossings of people rescued at sea and brought to land by EU citizens. The total number of illegal EU external border crossings can be higher than the number of migrants newly illegally arriving in the EU in a year, especially for the years 2015 and 2016 (see table below). News media sometimes misrepresent these figures as given by Frontex.
|Migrants from Greater Middle East or Africa newly arriving in the EU, detected but not over an official border-crossing point (BCP)||Same from Kosovo||Total new migrants arrived to the EU, detected but not over an official BCP||Seasonal, circular, workers "illegally" crossing from Albania to Greece||Detected "illegal" EU external border crossings by migrants from Greece/Bulgaria through western Balkans heading for northwestern EU member states||Total detected "illegal" crossings of EU external borders|
|2014||231,000||around 21,000||around 252,000||9,000||around 22,000||283,000|
|2015||1,049,000||around 10,000||around 1,059,000||9,000||around 754,000||1,822,000|
In September 2015, Europol estimated there were 30,000 suspected migrant smugglers, which rose to 55,000 in 2016 and increased to 65,000 in 2017. 63 percent of smugglers were from Europe, 14 percent from the Middle East, 13 percent from Africa, nine percent from Asia excluding the Middle East and one percent from the Americas.
Frontex tracks and publishes data on numbers of crossings along the main six routes twice a year. The following table shows the data for the period up to and including the year 2016:
|Main migration routes into the European Union||Border crossings (land and sea)|
|Western African route||31,600||12,500||9,200||2,250||200||340||170||250||275||874||671|
|Western Mediterranean route||N/A||N/A||6,500||6,650||5,000||8,450||6,400||6,800||7,840||7,164||10,231|
|Central Mediterranean route||N/A||N/A||39,800||11,000||4,500||64,300||15,900||40,000||170,760||153,946||181,459|
|Apulia and Calabria route||N/A||N/A||N/A||807||2,788||5,259||4,772||5,000|
|Circular Albania–Greece route||N/A||N/A||42,000||40,000||35,300||5,300||5,500||8,700||8,840||8,932||5,121|
|Western Balkan route||N/A||N/A||N/A||3,090||2,370||4,650||6,390||19,950||43,360||764,038||130,261|
|Eastern Mediterranean route||N/A||N/A||52,300||40,000||55,700||57,000||37,200||24,800||50,830||885,386||182,277|
|Eastern Borders route||N/A||N/A||1,335||1,050||1,050||1,050||1,600||1,300||1,270||1,920||1,349|
In September 2015, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg identified "a need for immediate measures, border, migrant, the discussion about quotas, so on – this is [sic] civilian issues, addressed by the European Union." Czech Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said in reaction, "According to the NATO chief, the problem of refugees is a problem of the EU and the border protection and the fight against people smugglers is in the power of particular EU member states."
The Russian Federation released an official statement on 2 September 2015 reporting that the United Nations Security Council was working on a draft resolution to address the European migrant crisis, likely by permitting the inspection of suspected migrant ships.
The International Organization for Migration claimed that deaths at sea increased ninefold after the end of Operation Mare Nostrum. Amnesty International condemned European governments for "negligence towards the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean" which they say led to an increase in deaths at sea.
In April 2015, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch criticised the funding of search and rescue operations. Amnesty International said that the EU was "turning its back on its responsibilities and clearly threatening thousands of lives".
Australian PM Tony Abbott said the tragedies were "worsened by Europe's refusal to learn from its own mistakes and from the efforts of others who have handled similar problems. Destroying the criminal people-smugglers was the centre of gravity of our border control policies, and judicious boat turnbacks was the key."
In July 2013, Pope Francis visited the island of Lampedusa on his first official visit outside of Rome. He prayed for both living and dead migrants and denounced their traffickers. He expressed his concern about the loss of life and urged EU leaders to "act decisively and quickly to stop these tragedies from recurring".
Former U.S. President Barack Obama praised Germany for taking a leading role in accepting refugees. During his April 2016 visit to Germany, Obama praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel for being on "the right side of history" with her open-border immigration policy.
In a report released in January 2016, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) denounced the EU response to the refugee crisis in 2015 and said that policies of deterrence and a chaotic response to the humanitarian needs of those who fled actively worsened the conditions of refugees and migrants and created a "policy-made humanitarian crisis". According to MSF, obstacles placed by EU governments included "not providing any alternative to a deadly sea crossing, erecting razor wire fences, continuously changing administrative and registration procedures, committing acts of violence at sea and at land borders and providing completely inadequate reception conditions in Italy and Greece".
In March 2016, NATO General Philip Breedlove stated, "Together, Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve. .. These indiscriminate weapons used by both Bashar al-Assad, and the non-precision use of weapons by the Russian forces – I can't find any other reason for them other than to cause refugees to be on the move and make them someone else's problem." He also claimed that criminals, extremists and fighters were hiding in the flow of migrants.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said: "It's quite simply stupid to open Europe's doors wide and invite in everyone who wants to come to your country. European migration policy is a total failure, all that is absolutely frightening."
On 18 June 2016, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon also called for international support and praised Greece for showing "remarkable solidarity and compassion" towards refugees. The lack of action of UNESCO in this area was the subject of controversy. Some scholars, like António Silva, blamed UNESCO for not denouncing racism against war refugees in Europe with the same vigor as the vandalism against ancient monuments perpetrated by fundamentalists in the Middle East. They also accuse the organization of contributing to the emerging process of fetishization of the cultural heritage, forgetting that it should be used primarily as an instrument in the fight against racism, as openly declared the authors of the constitutive charter of the institution in 1945.
On 23 March 2020, UN Special Rapporteur Felipe González warned Greece to end the violation of the rights of asylum seekers at the Turkey-Greece border. González also demanded that Greece improve measures to protect asylum seekers. Asylum seekers who succeeded in crossing the border were allegedly detained and searched, with all material possessions confiscated before being sent back to Turkey. The report noted that manhandling of the migrants resulted in deaths and serious injuries in the past.
On 23 September 2020, The European Commission presented its “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” – a series of legislative proposals on the EU’s approach to migration and asylum. The Commission’s proposals include possible screening at external borders and an alternative solidarity mechanism that offers States not willing to relocate asylum-seekers the option of contributing in other ways, such as managing the return of people denied asylum or funding reception centres in frontline states. The proposal also outlines a more coordinated approach to search-and-rescue at sea that would involve relocating those rescued to other States and ruling out the criminalization of NGO rescue vessels.
According to Reuters, most Libyan migrants departed in vessels operated by people smugglers. As of September 2018, one in five migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Libya either drowned or disappeared.
In August 2017 the Libyan Coast Guard issued a declaration that NGO search and rescue vessels must stay outside of a zone running 360 km (190 nautical miles) from the Libyan coast unless they were given express permission to enter. This zone is 10 nautical miles smaller than the Libyan Exclusive Economic Zone, The coast guard statement criticised the NGO vessels for approaching the Libyan coastline to a distance of as short as ten to thirteen nautical miles, which is inside the Libyan territorial waters. As a result, NGOs MSF, Save the Children and Sea Eye suspended their operations after clashes with the Libyan Coast Guard after the latter asserted its sovereignty of its waters by firing warning shots.
Effects on politics
Germany's acceptance of over 1 million asylum seekers was controversial both within Angela Merkel's centre-right Christian Democratic Union party and among the general public. Pegida, an anti-immigration protest movement flourished briefly in late 2014, followed by a new wave of anti-immigration protests in the late summer of 2015. Many members of parliament for the CDU voiced dissatisfaction with Merkel. Horst Seehofer, then premier of Bavaria, became a prominent critic within the CDU of Merkel's refugee policy and alleged that as many as 30 percent of Germany's asylum seekers claiming to be from Syria are in fact from other countries. Meanwhile, Yasmin Fahimi, secretary-general of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), the junior partner of the ruling coalition, praised Merkel's policy allowing migrants in Hungary to enter Germany as "a strong signal of humanity to show that Europe's values are valid also in difficult times". In the 2017 German federal election, the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) gained 12% of the vote, which was attributed in part to anxieties around immigration.
Integration of refugees
While figures specifically for refugees are often not available, they tend to be disproportionately unemployed compared to the local population, especially in the years immediately following their resettlement. As a whole, it takes refugees an average of 20 years to fully "catch up" to locals. However, considerable differences exist with respect to both host countries and countries of origin. In the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, for instance, the gap is much larger than in Germany and the UK.
Rejected asylum seekers
People whose asylum applications are generally required to return to their home countries. Some do so voluntarily; others are deported. However, deportation is often difficult in practice; a common reason is lacking travel documents or the person's country of origin refusing to accept returnees. The annual rate of return has generally averaged around one-third. In some countries that took in large numbers of asylum seekers, this has resulted in tens of thousands of people not having legal residency rights, raising worries of institutionalised poverty and the creation of parallel societies. The years following the 2015 refugee crisis saw some European countries enact legislation to speed up deportations. The EU began threatening to withhold development aid from or impose visa restrictions on countries refusing to take in their own citizens.
For a variety of reasons, some also ended up being permitted to stay. Some countries, such as Germany and Sweden allow rejected asylum seekers to apply for certain other visas (e.g., to pursue vocational training if they have secured an apprenticeship).
Refugees, who have often fled violence their home countries and experienced further violence during their journey, often have high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In 2016 in Sweden, 30% of Syrian refugees were estimated to suffer from PTSD, depression, and anxiety. In 2020, a study of physically healthy young refugees in Germany identified 40% as having risk factors for PTSD. Long asylum claim processing times, during which refugees cannot work or travel and contemplate being sent back to their home country, often compound poor mental health. Although asylum applications are in principle supposed to be processed within six months on average, many countries that took in significantly more refugees than in previous years took considerably longer - in many cases over year and sometimes up to two.
In Germany, refugees do not have access to non-acute medical care, including therapy mental health treatments, until they have lived in the country for at least 15 months. Language barriers also often make therapy particularly difficult.
In a report ordered by UNHCR and authored by the Cardiff School of Journalism, an analysis was done on media reports in five European countries: Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden. From 2014 to the early months of 2015, UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations launched a series of large media advocacy exercises. Significant discrepancies were noted in the response to the campaign in other media for the same period. Differences included:
- The kind of sources journalists used for their articles, such as domestic or foreign politicians, citizens or NGOs.
- The language used: Germany and Sweden overwhelmingly used terms refugee or asylum seeker while Italy and UK preferred the term migrant. In Spain, the dominant term was immigrant.
- The reasons given for the increase in refugee flows.
- Suggested solutions.
- The predominant themes: threats to welfare systems and cultural threats were most prevalent in Italy, Spain, and Britain while humanitarian themes were more frequent in Italian coverage.
- Overall the Swedish press was most positive towards the arrivals, while UK press was both the most negative and the most polarised.
Press coverage of German migration policies
Analyst Naina Bajekal for the United States' magazine Time in September 2015 suggested that the German decision to allow Syrian refugees to apply for asylum in Germany even if they had reached Germany through other EU member states in August 2015, led to increased numbers of refugees from Syria and other regions – Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Ukraine, Congo, South Sudan etc. – endeavouring to reach (Western) Europe.
In March 2016, the UK's Daily Telegraph said that Merkel's 2015 decisions concerning migration represented an "open door policy", which it claimed was "encouraging migration into Europe that her own country is unwilling to absorb" and as damaging the EU, "perhaps terminally".
- African immigration to Europe
- Demographics of Europe
- Emigration from Africa
- EU Malta Declaration
- Free movement protocol
- Illegal immigration
- Immigration to Greece
- List of migrant vessel incidents on the Mediterranean Sea
- Migrants' African routes
- Petra László tripping incident
- With Open Gates
- Wir schaffen das
- Data for the rest of the year 2015 can be found in the Eurostat Asylum quarterly report.
- The Dublin regulation in force at the time stated that only the country in which a given person first made an asylum application is responsible for that person's asylum process; the asylum seeker was generally not allowed to file a second asylum claim in another country. The Dublin regulation contained a "sovereignty clause" allowing countries to voluntarily accept asylum applications from people who had already made claims elsewhere, which Germany temporarily activated for Syrians on August 21, 2015.
- "Asylum quarterly report – Statistics Explained". ec.europa.eu.
- "Europe migrant crisis". BBC News. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- Ruz, Camila (28 August 2015). "The battle over the words used to describe migrants". BBC News. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "Europe's Migration Crisis". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- Rachman, Gideon (3 September 2015). "Refugees or migrants – what's in a word?". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- Smith-Spark, Laura (5 September 2015). "European migrant crisis: A country-by-country glance". CNN. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- Horning, A (2020). "Double-edged risk: unaccompanied minor refugees (UMRs) in Sweden and their search for safety". Journal of Refugee Studies. 33 (2): 390–415. doi:10.1093/jrs/feaa034.
The media focused on the similarities of the two images to draw attention to the 'refugee crisis' in the West as opposed to inciting sympathy for refugees.
- "Europe's African Refugee Crisis: Is the Boat Really Full?". Der Spiegel. 15 April 2014.
- "UNHCR chief issues key guidelines for dealing with Europe's refugee crisis". UNHCR."This is a primarily refugee crisis, not only a migration phenomenon".
- "European Refugee Crisis 2015: Why So Many People Are Fleeing The Middle East And North Africa". International Business Times. 3 September 2015.
- "What You Need to Know About Europe's Refugee Crisis: Q&A". Bloomberg. 8 September 2015.
- "Migrant crisis: Migration to Europe explained in seven charts". BBC News. 4 March 2016.
- "EU migrant crisis: facts and figures | News | European Parliament". europarl.europa.eu. 30 June 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
- "Record number of over 1.2 million first time asylum seekers registered in 2015". EUROSTAT.
- Evans, Gareth (30 August 2020). "Europe's migrant crisis: the year that changed a continent". BBC News.
- "Monthly Arrivals by Nationality to Greece, Italy and Spain". Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response – Mediterranean. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- "Irregular Migrant, Refugee Arrivals in Europe Top One Million in 2015: IOM". IOM. 22 December 2015.
- "Refugee Situations". UNHCR Operational Portal. UNHCR.
- Scammell, Rosie (7 June 2015). "Mediterranean migrant crisis: number of arrivals in Italy in 2015 passes 50,000". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- "Mapping Mediterranean migration". BBC. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- "Situation Syria Regional Refugee Response". data2.unhcr.org. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- Mona, Chalabi (25 July 2013). "Syrian refugees: how many are there and where are they?". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
- "UNHCR Global Trends –Forced Displacement in 2014". UNHCR. 18 June 2015.
- "Arrivals to Greece, Italy and Spain. January–December 2015" (PDF). UNHCR.
- Yeginsu, Ceylan (16 August 2015). "Amid Perilous Mediterranean Crossings, Migrants Find a Relatively Easy Path to Greece". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- Neely, Bill (13 August 2015). "Migrants Crisis: Refugees Attempt to Reach Greek Island of Lesbos". NBC News. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- Daley, Suzanne (4 August 2015). "On Island of Lesbos, a Microcosm of Greece's Other Crisis: Migrants". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- "Refugees and migrants outnumber Kastelorizo's residents". Protothema. 20 February 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- Beauchamp, Zack (27 September 2015). "The Syrian refugee crisis, explained in one map". Vox. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
- "Over one million sea arrivals reach Europe in 2015". UNHCR. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
- "Migrant 'chaos' on Greek islands – UN refugee agency". BBC News. 7 August 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
- Pop, Valentina (7 August 2015). "Greek Government Holds Emergency Meeting Over Soaring Migrant Arrivals". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
- "Migrant crisis: Croatia mines warning after border crossing". BBC News. 16 September 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
- "Statistiche immigrazione". Italian Ministry of the Interior. Archived from the original on 28 March 2016.
- "The Mediterranean's deadly migrant routes". BBC News. 22 April 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- "Why is EU struggling with migrants and asylum?". BBC News. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- "Number of refugees reaching Europe plunged in 2016". aljazeera.com.
- Szymański, Piotr; Żochowski, Piotr; Rodkiewicz, Witold (6 April 2016). "Enforced cooperation: the Finnish-Russian migration crisis". Centre for Eastern Studies. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
- Pancevsky, Bojan (4 September 2016). "Norway builds Arctic border fence as it gives migrants the cold shoulder". The Times of London. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
- Osborne, Samuel (25 August 2016). "Norway to build border fence with Russia to keep out refugees". The Independent.
- Hovland, Kjetil Malkenes (3 September 2015). "Syrian Refugees Take Arctic Route to Europe More than 150 refugees have entered Norway from Arctic Russia this year". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
- Szymański, Piotr (2018). With Russia right across the border: Finland's security policy. Warsaw: Centre for Eastern Studies. p. 19. ISBN 978-83-65827-23-4.
- de Carbonnel, Alissa (20 November 2015). "A (Very) Cold War on the Russia-Norway Border". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
- "Russian border guard to STT: Russian security service behind northeast asylum traffic". YLE. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
- "Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response – Mediterranean". UNHCR.
- "Refugee crisis: apart from Syrians, who is travelling to Europe?". The Guardian. 10 September 2015.
- "It's not at war, but up to 3% of its people have fled. What is going on in Eritrea?". The Guardian. 22 July 2015.
- Record number of over 1.2 million first time asylum seekers registered in 2015. (44/2016) 4. March 2016; 1.2 million first time asylum seekers registered in 2016 (46/2017) 16. March 2017
- "Hollande confirms French delivery of arms to Syrian rebels". AFP. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "C.I.A. Arms for Syrian Rebels Supplied Black Market, Officials Say". Retrieved 4 October 2018.
- "US arms shipment to Syrian rebels detailed | IHS Jane's 360". 5 December 2016. Archived from the original on 5 December 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
- "Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria, a move sought by Moscow". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
- "Opinion | What the demise of the CIA's anti-Assad program means". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
- "Top general confirms end to secret U.S. program in Syria". POLITICO. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
- "Behind the Sudden Death of a $1 Billion Secret C.I.A. War in Syria". Retrieved 4 October 2018.
- "Plans to send heavier weapons to CIA-backed rebels in Syria stall amid White House skepticism". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
- "Creeping Incrementalism: U.S. Forces and Strategy in Iraq and Syria from 2011 to 2016: An Update". csis.org. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
- "Afghanistan". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- "Afghanistan: What you need to know about one of the world's longest refugee crises". International Rescue Committee (IRC). 8 September 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
- "Annual Risk Analysis 2015" (PDF). Frontex. 27 April 2015. pp. 19, 22, 24.
- Frontex (2018). "Risk Analysis for 2018" (PDF). Retrieved 9 March 2020.
- "Kosovo helpless to stem exodus of illegal migrants". Reuters. 6 February 2015.
- Detections of illegal border-crossings statistics, Frontex, 2 July 2021
- Nielsen, Nikolaj (13 October 2015). "Frontex double counts migrants entering EU". EUobserver. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
- Clayton, Jonathan; Holland, Hereward (30 December 2015). "Over one million sea arrivals reach Europe in 2015". UNHCR. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- Judy, Dempsey (25 September 2015). "Understanding Central Europe's Opposition to Refugees". Carnegie Europe. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
- "'People in Europe are full of fear' over refugee influx". The Washington Post. 3 September 2015.
- "Big, bad Visegrad". The Economist. 28 January 2016. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
- Elgot, Jessica (31 August 2015). "Austria defends border checks amid migration crisis". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- "Migrant crisis: People treated 'like animals' in Hungary camp". BBC News. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- Hartocollis, Anemona (5 September 2015). "Why Migrants Don't Want to Stay in Hungary". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- Schönhagen, Ulrich Herbert , Jakob. "Vor dem 5. September. Die "Flüchtlingskrise" 2015 im historischen Kontext | APuZ". bpb.de (in German). Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- Taylor, Adam (26 August 2015). "Germany's small yet important change to the way it deals with Syrian refugees". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- Holehouse, Matthew (24 August 2015). "Germany drops EU rules to allow in Syrian refugees". The Telegraph. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- Nolan, Daniel; Connolly, Kate (1 September 2015). "Hungary closes main Budapest station to refugees". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
- Graham-Harrison, Emma; Henley, Jon (4 September 2015). "Hungary to take thousands of refugees to Austrian border by bus". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
- "Migrant crisis: Activist convoy drives to Hungary". BBC News. 6 September 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
- "Migrant crisis: Austria to let people in from Hungary". BBC News. 5 September 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
- "The Latest: Austria, Germany to accept bused migrants". MSN. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- "Germans welcome thousands of newly arrived refugees". Deutsche Welle. 6 September 2015.
- Bröcker, Michael; Quadbeck, Eva (11 September 2015). "Interview mit Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel: "Grundrecht auf Asyl kennt keine Obergrenze"". Rheinische Post (in German). Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- Vögele, Nicole; Lüdke, Steffen (18 November 2020). "Croatia: Video Documents Illegal Refugee Pushbacks". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- Tondo, Lorenzo; Boffey, Daniel (15 June 2020). "EU 'covered up' Croatia's failure to protect migrants from border brutality". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
- "Traiskirchen Symptom systematischer Mängel im Umgang mit Asylwerbern" (in German). Amnesty International Österreich. Archived from the original on 14 August 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
- "Reception centres use containers to house new arrivals". YLE. 28 November 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
- "Interior Minister: Finland to set up asylum seeker repatriation centres". YLE. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
- Naina Bajekal/Calais (1 August 2015). "Why Thousands of Migrants Are Risking Their Lives at Calais". Time. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
- "Will new mile-long Calais fence stop migrants?". BBC News. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- Lizzie Dearden (16 December 2015). "Refugee crisis: Hundreds of migrants storm Calais motorway attempting to board lorries heading to the UK". The Independent. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- Chrisafis, Angelique; Walker, Peter; Quinn, Ben (1 March 2016). "Calais 'Jungle' camp: clashes as authorities demolish homes". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- "Nach Räumung des "Dschungels": Frankreich eröffnet neues Flüchtlingslager am Ärmelkanal". Spiegel Online (in German). 7 March 2016. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- Katrin Bennhold; Melissa Eddy (6 September 2015). "German Quota System Highlights Possible Path and Pitfalls for Handling Crisis". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
- Melanie Amann, Matthias Gebauer und Horand Knaup (11 September 2015). "Länderinnenminister: "Sie öffnen die Grenzen und lassen uns im Stich"". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
- Andrew Higgins (31 October 2015). "German Village of 102 Braces for 750 Asylum Seekers". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- "Kleines Dorf: Sumte nahm 750 Flüchtlinge auf – Was ist seitdem passiert?". Nordkurier (in German). 31 October 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
- Reynolds, James (14 September 2015). "Hungary completes Serbia border fence". BBC News. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- Kingsley, Patrick; Graham-Harrison, Emma (19 September 2015). "UN warns European unity at risk as borders close to refugees". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- "Migrant crisis: Croatia closes border crossings with Serbia". BBC News. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- T.V. "Grabar KitaroviĆ: Hrvatska neće graditi zidove prema Srbiji kao Mađarska". Dnevnik.hr.
- Surk, Barbara (30 June 2016). "Croatia puts up barrier at Serbia border". Politico. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- "The Latest: Slovenian police pepper spray migrants at border". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
- "Migrant crisis: Croatia opens Serbia border". BBC News. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
- Melissa Eddy; Alison Smale (13 September 2015). "Germany Announces Emergency Border Controls Amid Migrant Crisis". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- "Germany introduces 'temporary' controls along Austrian border". euronews. 13 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- Melissa Eddy; Rick Lyman; Alison Smale (13 September 2015). "Germany Orders Curbs at Border in Migrant Crisis". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- Rick Lyman (16 October 2015). "Hungary to Close Its Border With Croatia in Migrant Crackdown". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "Thousands of Migrants Surge into Slovenia in New Route". The New York Times. Associated Press. 18 October 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- Radul Radovanovic (18 October 2015). "Thousands stranded on new migrant route through Europe". The Associated Press, MSN. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Slovenian troops start erecting border fence :: Prvi interaktivni multimedijski portal, MMC RTV Slovenija". rtvslo.si. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- Yahoo News (18 December 2015). "Slovenia's fence on Croatia border threatening wildlife: WWF". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- Croatia (19 December 2015). "Istrians protest against razor wire fence on Croatia-Slovenia border". Hina. Archived from the original on 2 February 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- "Migrant crisis: Hungarian army stages border protection exercise". BBC News. 10 September 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
- "Slovenia deploys army to Schengen zone border to tackle refugee influx". Deutsche Welle. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
- "Austria deploys army to impose border controls". France 24. 14 September 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
- "Slovenia gives army more power amid migrant crisis Access to the comments". Euronews. 21 October 2015.
- "EU Warns Against New 'Walls' As Hungary Plans Fence on Serbia Border". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
- "Slovenian police helicopter films Croatian police officers directing migrants to Slovenia across the green border and the Sotla river". policija.si. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- "Šefic: Croatian travesty on inhuman Slovenians :: Prvi interaktivni multimedijski portal, MMC RTV Slovenija". rtvslo.si. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- First instance decisions on applications by citizenship, age and sex - annual aggregated data, Eurostat, 3 June 2021
- "Migrant crisis: Illegal entries to EU at lowest level in five years", BBC News (published 4 January 2019), 4 January 2019
- Yeginsu, Ceylan (16 August 2015). "Amid Perilous Mediterranean Crossings, Migrants Find a Relatively Easy Path to Greece". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- Purtill, Corinne. "This airline wants to safely fly refugees into Europe. Here's why it needs to exist". Quartz. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
- "40 migrants 'killed by fumes' in hold of boat off Libya". Irish Independent. 15 August 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- see also German Wikipedia[better source needed]
- Alison Smale; Melissa Eddy (31 August 2015). "Migrant Crisis Tests Core European Value: Open Borders". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "Trial starts for men charged with freezer truck deaths of 71 migrants". Deutsche Welle. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- Politi, James (25 July 2015). "Italy's Mafia learns to profit from the migration crisis". Financial Times.
- Ryan, Rosanna (29 June 2015). "'Bigger than drugs': how the Mafia profits from the Mediterranean migrant crisis". ABC Radio National. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
- Sewell Chan; Palko Karasz (19 September 2015). "Thousands of Migrants Flood into Austria". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Palko Karasz; Barbara Surk (22 September 2015). "Austria Takes Role of Distribution Center for Germany-Bound Migrants". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
- "Overblik: Det skete da flygtningestrømmen nåede Danmark". Jyllands-Posten. 7 October 2015. Archived from the original on 14 October 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- Melissa Eddy (9 September 2015). "Migrant Tide Bringing Out Europe's Best and Worst". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- Melissa Eddy (9 September 2015). "Motorvej spærret i begge retninger: Flygtninge går fra Padborg mod Sverige". TV2 News Denmark. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Migrant crisis: Denmark-Germany rail links suspended". BBC News. 9 September 2015.
- Jonas Hamidavi R. Moestrup (12 October 2015). "28.800 flygtninge og migranter er kommet til Danmark på fem uger". TV2 News Denmark. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Regeringen indfører midlertidig grænsekontrol til Tyskland". politiko.dk. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- "Breaking News: Hungary Declares State Of Emergency As Migrant Crisis Turns Unpredictable". Hungary Today. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- Hungary Declares State of Emergency Over Migrants (novinite.com 9 March 2016)
- "Hungary extends state of emergency due to migrant crisis". WTOP. 30 August 2017. Archived from the original on 31 August 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
- Samuel, Henry (19 June 2015). "Nicolas Sarkozy compares EU migrant plan to 'fixing a burst water pipe with water'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Crise des migrants : le plan de Sarkozy" [Migrant crisis: Sarkozy's plan]. Le Figaro (in French). 9 September 2015.
- "Mother Angela: Merkel's Refugee Policy Divides Europe". Der Spiegel. 21 September 2015.
- "Migrant crisis: Austria holds suspected people smugglers". BBC News. 31 August 2015.
- "French PM Valls urges EU solidarity amid unprecedented migrant crisis". euronews.com. 31 August 2015. Archived from the original on 1 September 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- "European response to dire refugee crisis urgently needed". Party of European Socialists. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
- Traynor, Ian (20 April 2015). "Mediterranean refugee crisis: EU reduced to impotent handwringing". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
- Justin Huggler, Andrew Marszal, Angela Merkel calls for new rules for distributing asylum seekers in Europe, The Daily Telegraph dated 24 April 2015
- "Addressing Migration in the European Union: Selected publications by the European Parliamentary Research Service" (PDF).
- "Looking for a home". The Economist. 29 August 2015. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
- Ian Traynor. Refugee crisis: east and west split as leaders resent Germany for waiving rules. The Guardian. 5 September 2015.
- Swidlicki, Pawel (24 September 2015). "This East-West split over EU refugee quotas will have long-lasting consequences". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
- Traynor, Ian; Kingsley, Patrick (22 September 2015). "EU governments push through divisive deal to share 120,000 refugees". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
- "Europe is finally confronting the migrant crisis". The Economist. 4 September 2015. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
- "Refugee crisis reveals fundamental splits in European political parties". EurActiv. 24 September 2015.
- "Berlin calls for sanctions on EU states that reject refugee quotas". Deutsche Welle. 15 September 2015.
- "Migrant crisis: Hungarian PM Viktor Orban proposes EU border force to patrol Greek frontier". International Business Times. 23 September 2015.
- Kanter, James (6 September 2017). "E.U. Countries Must Accept Their Share of Migrants, Court Rules". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
- Rankin, Jennifer (23 September 2020). "EU proposes to ditch refugee quotas for member states". the Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
- "RELOCATION AND RESETTLEMENT 13 JUNE 2017" (PDF). Euriopean Commission. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- Raithel, Silvia (9 February 2016). "The Common European Asylum System: Its History, Content, and Shortcomings – The Michigan Journal of International Law". The Michigan Journal of International Law. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
- "European Commission – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy". europa.eu. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
- "The human cost of Europe's migration policy". The Economist. 3 November 2018. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
- "Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council" (PDF). 4 June 2016.
- "European Commission – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council: Ten point action plan on migration". Europa (web portal). Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- Andrew Higgins (25 October 2015). "European Leaders Look Again for a Unified Response to Migrant Crisis". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- "Hotspots für Flüchtlinge: Das hässliche Gesicht Deutschlands und der EU". – DEUTSCHE WIRTSCHAFTS NACHRICHTEN. 12 December 2015.
- "HMS Richmond and HMS Enterprise rescue 541 migrants from the Med". The Daily Telegraph. 29 October 2015.
- "Italy Is About to Shut Down the Sea Rescue Operation That Saved More Than 90,000 Migrants This Year". Vice News. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "UK axes support for Mediterranean migrant rescue operation". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- "EC MEMO, Brussels, 7 October 2014, Frontex Joint Operation 'Triton' – Concerted efforts to manage migration in the Central Mediterranean". European Union, European Commission. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Kirchgaessner, Stephanie; Traynor, Ian; Kingsley, Pat