European refugee crisis

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Sea rescue in the Mediterranean as part of Operation Triton (June 2015)

The European refugee crisis (also European migration crisis or just asylum crisis ) is the sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers in the EU states associated with the entry and transit of 1–2 million refugees into the European Union in 2015/16 also understood in the following the ongoing migratory pressure on Europe and the overall social impact of this refugee movement .

The number of asylum seekers who entered Europe had already reached 627,000 in 2014, almost doubled to over 1.3 million in 2015 and was again 1.26 million in 2016, a large proportion of whom had already arrived in 2015 but were recorded late has been. After the tightening of asylum law in the most important target states in autumn 2015, the establishment of border barriers on the Balkan route in March 2016 and the EU-Turkey agreement of March 18, 2016 , the number of new asylum seekers fell rapidly and was around 650,000 in 2017.

The events revealed various shortcomings in the EU's asylum system: in the course of the crisis, some EU states disregarded central agreements from the Schengen Agreement of 1985 and the Dublin Agreement of 1990 and refused to distribute the refugees. That called into question the viability of the EU treaties, the integrative power of the EU and intra-European solidarity . The asylum policy of the European Union , the European migration policy and the respective national immigration and refugee policies , as well as the position of Islam in Europe, became the subject of the most heated political disputes. At the national level, the crisis led to a strengthening of the political right as well as national conservative and Islamophobic forces.


"Refugees", "Refugees", "Asylum seekers", "Migrants"

“Refugees” or “refugees” and “asylum seekers” are not precisely differentiated from “migrants” in the general usage of the current crisis. Today the term includes those affected by forced, voluntary or involuntary migration, not only those persecuted by the state. Since the causes and motives of migration change and merge in a variety of ways, categories that are delimited from one another are usually external attributions on the part of the host countries.

"Refugee crisis"

Larger within and outside Europe refugee movements are colloquially long been known as "refugee crisis" means, the mass exodus from the GDR during the turn of the summer and autumn of 1989, which escapes from the disintegrating Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and others. The expression has been used in European politics and media since 2015 to increase previous names of the multiplied number of asylum seekers. He soon met with criticism because he ascribes a crisis to a group of people, not to the political treatment of them, and thus contextualizes the perception of the problem at the expense of the refugees. That is why the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) changed the expression Refugee Crisis in the title of its conference in March 2016 in Vienna to the Political Crisis Forcing People into Displacement and Refugee Status .

According to political scientist Julia Schulze Wessel, the “refugee crisis” can also be understood as the “refugee crisis”. Then the expression could point to the limitation of the previous term refugee, which does not capture the current causes of flight, and to the catastrophic situation of displaced persons , who mostly have to remain as internally displaced persons with no chance or protection or in camps or prisons, recently also in Europe. In fact, the term is used today in the context of negative consequences for the arrival and receiving countries. European and German politicians therefore usually only referred to the reduction in the number of refugees as the “solution to the refugee crisis”, not an improvement in the living conditions of refugees. The expression is therefore not consistent. The loss of control meant by the state could better be described as the “crisis of European refugee and migration policy”.

Social and political scientist Hannah von Grönheim criticizes the widespread terms "refugee crisis", "refugee problem" or "refugee problem" as "construction of a security requirement": The expressions suggest that Europe is threatened by refugees in order to avoid an already existing EU policy To legitimize and strengthen isolation and defense. Often the terms would be supplemented with expressions such as “drama” or (English) challenge , risk , large-scale humanitarian crisis , particularly strong and unforeseen pressure and with flood metaphors that acted as a dramatization. Politicians often linked the discourse about flight and migration directly with the discourse about European or national security needs and linguistically equated refugees and migrants with criminals. Von Grönheim referred to the anthropologist David Turton: He had already found in 2003 that Europeans often describe migration processes with flood metaphors and contrast refugees and immigrants with their own group (“they” versus “us”), even though their ancestors were migrants themselves. This is partly responsible for the fact that migration to Europe is perceived as something abnormal and migrants as a strange, threatening or even hostile group, excluded and dehumanized, with whose situation Europe historically has nothing to do.

"Migration crisis"

The term “Europe's migration crisis” is also used. Five migration researchers criticize the expression as ahistorical and narrowing: large-scale immigration is not historically new for Europe, the number of asylum seekers in summer 2015 was relatively low on a global scale and the mass exodus to southern European countries was predictable. The designation makes it easy to lose sight of the fact that this crisis was only one facet in a series of crises. This series actually began with the global financial crisis in 2007 , the consequences of which have already undermined social cohesion in Europe, revived right-wing populist forces and brought some illiberal governments in and outside Europe to power. The Arab Spring from 2011 was followed by the civil war in Syria since 2011 and the rise of the Islamic State , also because the international community was unable to resolve it . The EU's strict austerity policy contributed to the temporary collapse of the asylum systems in southern Europe and the humanitarian crises in Greece and along the Western Balkans route. It was only through the inability of the EU to manage arrivals via the Mediterranean routes that 2015 turned into a “migration crisis”. The sovereignty of the EU, weakened by going it alone, has encouraged further repressive policies and illiberal forces and thus caused a crisis for the entire EU. Other scholars and other experts on the subject describe the so-called refugee or migration crisis as one of many symptoms of a deep and persistent “solidarity crisis” across the EU that has affected refugees.

"Events of September 2015"

In September 2018, journalist Robin Alexander , author of the non-fiction bestseller Die Grittenen (2017), was interviewed by presenter Markus Lanz in his ZDF talk show of the same name about the third anniversary of the start of the refugee crisis. The Green politician Renate Künast interrupted the question with the objection that there had never been a refugee crisis. When Lanz suggested the term “migration crisis” as an alternative, Künast also disagreed, as the word “crisis” already had a negative connotation. From their point of view, those who use it run “the AfD's business”. Since Künast himself did not want to make a suggestion for a supposedly neutral term, the guests agreed to only speak of "the events of September 2015". However, since the term of the editorial appeared to be incomprehensible for viewers, the part of the discussion was cut out before the broadcast.


The refugee agency UNHCR registers people worldwide who are considered refugees according to the criteria of the Geneva Refugee Convention (GFK) of 1951, as well as internally displaced persons, war refugees, people forced to flee by environmental disasters and stateless people. Due to unreliable or missing information from many countries, the UNHCR only records part of the actual total. The vast majority of them have remained as internally displaced persons in their own country or in directly neighboring countries for decades. Only a small fraction of the refugees are state-registered asylum seekers . The UNHCR does not record refugee movements to Europe separately but as part of the global increase in the number of forcibly displaced people. Their number rose from 51.2 million (2013) through 60 (2014), 65.3 (2015) and 65.6 (2016) to 68.5 million by the end of 2017. Of these, 25.4 million were most recently registered Refugees. Only 2.643 million (10.4%) of them fled to or from Europe.

Countries of origin

Asylum seekers in 2015 by country of origin and destination

In 2014, 53% of the UNHCR-registered displaced persons came from Syria , Afghanistan and Somalia . Larger proportions also came from Iraq , South Sudan , Nigeria , the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ukraine . The Turkey , Pakistan , Iran and Lebanon (23.2% in relation to population) took world by far the most refugees. Between 2015 and 2016, Syrians made up almost a third of all asylum seekers in Europe, and Afghans and Iraqis together made up more than half.

Origin of asylum seekers in percent / year
Country 2015 2016 2017
Afghanistan 14th 15th 07th
Albania 05 02 03
Bangladesh - - 03
Ivory Coast - - 02
Eritrea 03 03 04th
Guinea - - 03
Iraq 10 11 07th
Iran 02 03 03
Kosovo 05 - -
Nigeria 02 04th 06th
Pakistan 04th 04th 05
Russia - 02
Syria 29 28 16
Turkey - - 02
Other 26th 28 40


For decades, the EU and the EU member states have made legal entry more and more difficult for refugees and those seeking protection, which has led to an ever increasing switch to unauthorized entry . They do not allow them to submit asylum applications in diplomatic missions of EU countries (embassy asylum) in their country of origin. War refugees from acute crisis regions also still need a visa to travel to the EU. In order to legally apply for asylum, most refugees are therefore forced to travel to Europe as so-called illegal migrants. Many come to Europe on a temporary visa and stay longer after their residence permit expires in order to go through an asylum procedure.

Refugees without a valid visa enter the EU via three main routes:

  • the eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece, mostly by sea via the eastern Aegean Sea to Lesbos , more rarely by land to Bulgaria . From there they can travel via Romania or Serbia or the western Balkan route (Albania, Montenegro or North Macedonia ) to Hungary , Austria , Germany and, if necessary, further to western and northern Europe. In 2015, these routes were mainly used by Syrians, Afghans, Pakistanis and Sub-Saharan Africans, but also by North Africans from Tunisia and Morocco , for whom Turkey had waived the visa requirement in 2013.
  • the central Mediterranean route from Libya to Italy ( Lampedusa , Sicily ) or Malta . In 2015, this route was mainly used by people from sub-Saharan Africa who came to the Mediterranean coast of North Africa via the Sahel zone . Syrians hardly used this route in 2015 because Egypt and Algeria had made it difficult for them to access Libya by requiring a visa.
  • the western Mediterranean route from Morocco to Spain , either by sea or on the Spanish territory of Ceuta and Melilla . This escape route temporarily lost its importance due to the enormously increased border fences and border controls.

The EU border protection authority Frontex defines all these entries as illegal border crossings, regardless of the possible claim to asylum or protection of those who have entered and, according to their information, records them almost completely. It does not count illegal border crossings at internal European borders in order to exclude double counting and counting of intra-European migrant workers.

Illegal entry into the EU
year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Eastern Mediterranean route 24,800 50,800 885,400 182,534 29,718 32,497
Central Mediterranean route 45,300 170,700 154,000 181.126 119,369 23,370
Others 8,600 9,300 10,000 10,658 18,738 58,569
total 78,700 230,800 1,049,400 374.318 172,301 138,882

As of December 2015, the EU registered around 913,000 irregular border crossings from Turkey to Greece. Almost 700,000 of them came to Central Europe via the Balkan route. After their closure and the EU-Turkey Agreement, 160,000 refugees arrived in Greece by July 2016, but only 2,000 of them in July. According to Frontex, almost two thirds fewer refugees came to the EU via the Mediterranean in 2016 than in 2015, but 20% more to Italy. In 2017, IOM counted 186,768 arrivals via the Mediterranean route. In the first half of 2018, Frontex counted 60,430 illegal border crossings (around half as many as in the first half of 2017), of which 16,100 went to Italy (81% fewer) and 14,700 to Spain (almost 100% more).


Neither the EU border surveillance systems (Frontex, Eurosur ) nor the EU states register the fatalities on the escape routes to Europe. Some NGOs counted the dead using different methods. The database project The Migrants' Files , which was run by journalists from major European newspapers until April 2014, collected and checked death and missing persons reports from government and media reports. According to this, 23,258 people died, drowned and / or were reported missing while fleeing to Europe from 2000 to 2013; at least 4000 more than previously assumed.

As of 2014, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which works with UNHCR, took over the census of the dead. From January 2000 to June 30, 2017, the IOM recorded a total of 33,761 deaths or missing persons in the Mediterranean. From 2014 to the end of 2017, IOM registered more than 15,600 deaths in the Mediterranean and a further 6,042 deaths on land routes to and in Europe. Between 2014 and 2018, according to the IOM, an estimated 30,000 people disappeared while traveling through the Sahara desert . According to the IOM, at least twice as many migrants die in the Sahara desert as in the Mediterranean.

Number of dead and missing on Mediterranean routes, source IOM. Sahara dead or missing not included.
year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Dead and missing 3,303 3,919 5,143 3,235 2,297

According to UNHCR data, the proportion of those who died while crossing the Mediterranean rose from 1:38 in the first half of 2017 to 1:19 in the first half of 2018. In June 2018, Malta and Italy refused to allow private sea rescuers to call at their ports and confiscated some of their ships. After that the ratio increased to 1: 7. Although far fewer migrants than in the previous year used the central Mediterranean route, the proportion of fatalities increased sharply. As of August 3, the UNHCR registered 1,511 deaths, around 850 of them in June and July. It called the death rate "dramatic and extraordinary" and called on EU countries to guarantee the landing of migrants rescued from distress at sea.

The actual number of victims is estimated to be considerably higher, since many accidents and deaths are not observed, discovered and documented. In a single summer month of 2017, the sea rescue organization Sea-Eye found up to three capsized rubber dinghies with few or no bodies on the central Mediterranean route every day, without life jackets and other finders' markings. Based on the known occupancy of such boats with 150 to 200 people, the sea rescuer Johann Pätzold estimated the number of fatalities not found at more than 30,000 for 2017 alone. He wrote this in an open letter to the then Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière and Chancellor Angela Merkel . 2018 is underreporting of not found dead on the Mediterranean route up estimated to be four times as high as that of the reported deaths.

In addition, there are at least twice the estimated number of deaths and missing on the Sahara route. They perish there, also because the Niger government hardly provides any personnel or technology for search and rescue operations, but water points and villages in the desert have been militarily monitored under German and European pressure since 2016 and migrant transports have been punished with up to 30 years in prison.

Most of the dead are either nowhere to be found or cannot be identified. State authorities hardly care about the recovery and burial of the dead or the search for relatives; this is left to private initiatives. Examples of this kind of commitment can be found in Sfax and Zarzis , where a fisherman and a pastor, respectively, bury the dead washed up anonymously. On Lesbos, dead refugees were buried first in a soon-to-be-overcrowded poor cemetery, and since February 2016 in a new officially established cemetery.

Asylum applications

Asylum applications in the EU (black graph) and in nine European countries (see color legend), 2008 to 2017.

The number of refugees and migrants who entered Europe grew by around half in 2014, and in 2015 by more than double compared to the previous year. The number of registered asylum seekers is, however, an important indicator of the development, since many of those who have entered the country often applied for asylum for the first time in countries other than their arrival countries and were only recorded there.

Number of first asylum applications according to Eurostat
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
EU 431.094 626.960 1,322,844 1,260,908 708.583 645.725
Belgium 21,029 22,710 44,662 18,278 18,342 22,530
Bulgaria 7.144 11,080 20,388 19,419 3,697 2,535
Denmark 7.169 14,680 20,937 6.178 3,220 3,570
Germany 126,705 202,645 476.508 745.154 222,562 184.180
Estonia 96 155 231 177 191 95
Finland 3,209 3,620 32,346 5,604 4,992 4,500
France 66,267 64,310 76.163 84,269 99,332 120,425
Greece 8,226 9,430 13.205 51,108 58,650 66,965
Ireland 946 1,450 3,276 2,244 2,930 3,670
Italy 26,620 64,625 83,540 122,959 128,848 59,950
Croatia 1,079 450 208 2.223 976 800
Latvia 193 375 330 351 357 185
Lithuania 399 440 317 432 543 405
Luxembourg 1,068 1,150 2,506 2.161 2,432 2,335
Malta 2,248 1,350 1,843 1.928 1,839 2.130
Netherlands 13,062 24,495 44,972 20,943 18,212 24,025
Austria 17,498 28,035 88,159 42,255 24,715 13,375
Poland 15,241 8,020 12,188 12.303 5,045 4.110
Portugal 502 440 895 1,462 1,752 1,285
Romania 1,493 1,545 1,260 1,882 4,817 2.135
Sweden 54,268 81,180 162,451 28,792 26,327 21,560
Slovenia 272 385 277 1,308 1,475 2,875
Slovakia 439 330 329 145 161 175
Spain 4,487 5,615 14,779 15,754 33,952 54,050
Czech Republic 694 1,145 1,515 1,473 1,445 1,690
Hungary 18,897 42,775 177.134 29,431 3,392 670
United Kingdom 30,586 32,785 40.159 39,737 33,781 37,730
Cyprus 1,257 1,745 2,266 2,938 4,598 7,765
Non-members of the EU 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Iceland 127 170 369 1,124 1,085 775
Liechtenstein 54 65 150 81 149 165
Norway 11,931 11,415 31,112 3,487 3,519 2,660
Switzerland 21.304 23,555 39,446 27.141 18,013 15,160

From 2013 to 2014, first-time asylum applications in the EU rose by around 44%, the most in Italy (+ 143%), Hungary (+ 126%) and Denmark (+ 105%). At the same time, contrary to the trend, they decreased in Croatia (−58%), Poland, Malta, Slovakia, Portugal and France. Among the asylum seekers in Europe in 2015 were 88,300 unaccompanied minors .

State authorities often state the number of applications as evidence of disproportionate loads. However, the actual burdens only emerge from the consideration of the recognition rates, amounts and duration of deportation, naturalizations and relations to the number of inhabitants and average per capita income. An above-average number of asylum applications were made in eleven of the 28 EU countries, around a third of them in Germany. However, no European country was among the ten countries with the most asylum applications worldwide. In relation to the number of inhabitants, Sweden and Malta were in 9th and 10th place, Germany in 50th place in 2014. In relation to gross domestic product (GDP), 46 non-European countries, including some of the poorest countries in the world, took in more refugees than the EU countries. Germany was ranked 49th, in 2016 it was 63rd. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, asylum applications in the 28 EU countries and other European countries were distributed in per mille (per 1,000 inhabitants) as follows:

Country 2015 2016 2017
EU average 2.47 2.36 1.27
Belgium 3.4 1.2 1.2
Bulgaria 2.8 2.6 0.4
Denmark 3.6 1.0 0.5
Germany 5.4 8.7 2.4
Estonia 1.7 1.1 1.3
Finland 5.8 0.9 0.7
France 1.0 1.1 1.3
Greece 1.0 4.6 5.2
Ireland 0.7 0.4 0.6
Italy 1.3 1.9 2.0
Croatia 0.03 0.5 0.2
Latvia 0.16 0.17 0.18
Lithuania 0.09 0.14 0.18
Luxembourg 4.1 3.5 3.9
Malta 3.9 3.9 3.5
Netherlands 2.5 1.1 0.9
Austria 9.9 4.5 2.5
Poland 0.27 0.26 0.07
Portugal 0.08 0.07 0.09
Romania 0.06 0.09 0.2
Sweden 16.0 2.2 2.2
Slovakia 0.05 0.02 0.03
Slovenia 0.1 0.6 0.7
Spain 0.3 0.3 0.6
Czech Republic 0.1 0.1 0.1
Hungary 17.7 2.8 0.3
United Kingdom 0.5 0.5 0.5
Cyprus 2.4 3.3 5.2
Iceland - 3.3 -
Liechtenstein - 2.0 -
Norway 5.8 0.6 -
Switzerland 4.6 3.1 -

Causes of flight and handling of the crisis in the countries of origin

The European refugee crisis from 2015 is in the context of a global increase in the number of forcibly displaced persons. Migration research had predicted the increase for decades, citing population growth, economic inequality, low incomes, structural unemployment and protracted regional conflicts as contributing factors. According to Stefan Luft, acute violence against civilians by warring parties or paramilitary groups, including serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, as well as all kinds of persecution, economic and social impoverishment, man-made and natural disasters, climate change, and the consequences of Major projects or exploitation of natural resources. Today, many military groups use violence against individual population groups to destroy the rule of law and to create or maintain lawless conditions for undisturbed profit maximization.

The particular causes of the flight to Central Europe include the civil war in Syria , the advance and attacks of the Taliban in the context of the war in Afghanistan and the terrorist organization Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, humanitarian supply crises in Syria's neighboring states, armed conflicts and humanitarian crises in Somalia , Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Nigeria, the war in Ukraine since 2014 as well as poverty and unemployment in many Western Balkan countries. The factors that gradually increased the flight to Central Europe include the collapse of “buffer states” such as Libya, the relative political stability in richer European countries and the temporary suspension of the Dublin rules in the EU.

The sharp increase in the summer of 2015 was largely due to acute supply bottlenecks in refugee camps around Syria: After states failed to keep their aid pledges to the UNHCR (Germany halved the relevant contributions in 2014), the UNHCR plan for Syrian refugees was set at 1.3 billion only 35% financed in spring 2015. As a result, the UNHCR had to cut the already modest payments to regional refugee camps, so that most of them went to neighboring countries. According to Paul Collier (economist) and Alexander Betts (migration researcher), the failure of the international community to provide the host states around Syria with adequate and timely aid has now (2017) been recognized as a grave moral and practical error.

On September 5, 2015, the German Chancellor decided, in consultation with the Hungarian and Austrian governments, to exceptionally allow refugees stuck or marching there to enter Germany without border controls, and assured Syrian civil war refugees a right to stay in Germany. TV reports and experience reports made the culture of welcome and recognition of many Germans known internationally. Political opponents presented the humanitarian exception as a personal invitation and the cause of the further increase in entries into the EU. Migration researcher Kirsten Hoesch, on the other hand, refers to a historically long-standing problem jam: legal entry routes and fair distribution of refugees in the EU are not least due to Germany's rejection failed. New armed conflicts had arisen in the last 15 years without existing conflicts having been resolved. For years, the richer states had provided insufficient aid to refugee camps, making living conditions there unsustainable. With globalization they would have opened their borders to capital and goods, but hardly to people outside the OECD . These have the digitization facilitates exchange of information on living conditions and opportunities in other states. "In addition to wars and conflicts, economic inequality is a main driver of international migration."

According to a study by the political scientist Arno Tausch (October 2015), the potential for “normal migration” from Arab and Muslim states, even without the civil war in Syria, comprised around 2.5 million Arabs and 6 million residents of the countries of Islamic cooperation . Angela Merkel underestimated this potential and largely redirected it to Europe through a "policy of invitation" in summer 2015.


In the civil war in Syria, all those involved committed serious war crimes and violations of human rights from the beginning (2011) . The Assad regime and up to 160 anti-government militias systematically cut off the population from supplies of food and medicine. Bombing attacks on residential areas, terrorist attacks, arbitrary arrests and torture became commonplace. There were also air strikes by the USA, Russia and Turkey, and indirect interventions by Iran and Saudi Arabia. By 2015 around 230,000 people were killed in the war. Over a million Syrians lost their houses and apartments. According to UNHCR, 12.2 million (almost 50% of the population) now needed survival aid; around eight million were displaced in the country, over four million (five million according to other information) had to leave it by 2015. Most Syrians have fled to neighboring Turkey since 2014. In 2015, the situation in the refugee camps in the Middle East (Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt) became life-threatening for 85% of those who had fled there. Loss of all savings, lack of work permits, food shortages and high prices left them with hunger, begging, indebtedness, violence, corruption and forced labor. The UNHCR relief plans were only 41% funded in 2015 because many states failed to keep their promises.

The UN's financial needs to supply the refugee camps in and around Syria managed by the UNHCR increased to 7.3 billion US dollars in 2016. The food rations in the refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan were severely cut due to underfunding or failure to meet financial commitments.

In 2015, the Syrian government announced increased conscription to the Syrian armed forces , made it possible to buy oneself free from military service and made it easier to issue passports. This enabled opponents of the government and conscientious objectors to escape the civil war. It is believed that this is what the government intended. By April 2016, the fighting of all four major civil war parties around Aleppo caused an estimated 400,000 more people to flee to Turkey. After the Syrian government troops continued to gain ground, 28 lobby groups, aid and human rights organizations declared at the end of March 2017 that no one should be sent back to Syria at the moment, even if a region there seemed safe. The reasons for fleeing still exist. It is contrary to international law if a refugee is sent back against his will.

Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon

Iraq is considered a failed state as a result of three wars since 1980 and the civil war between 2003 and 2011. Since 2014, eight million Iraqis have again needed humanitarian aid, especially in the non-government-controlled north and west. Around seven million people lack medical care, clean water and sanitary facilities. Around three million (50% of them children) have been displaced in Iraq since 2014, for example by the Islamic State . At the same time, around 250,000 Syrians fled to Iraq. In autumn 2016, the battle for Mosul sparked further flight. The UNHCR estimated that around a million residents could be displaced.

In Jordan, the situation for Syrian refugees deteriorated significantly in 2015. Many only have the clothes that they wear. Power outages, water shortages, and expensive fees for visits to the doctor are an additional burden. 58% of the chronically ill no longer receive medical care. Competition in the labor market exacerbates tensions with Jordanians.

Temporary refugee camp in Lebanon (November 2013)

The Lebanon has four million inhabitants, granted in 2015 about one million registered refugees and asylum counted in 2016 with the arrival of a further million unregistered asylum seekers. At the UN refugee conference in Geneva at the end of March 2016, the government feared that this burden could lead to the collapse of the state. In 2015, it banned the UNHCR from registering new refugees, banned them from working, made access to camps more difficult, made residence permits, which had to be renewed annually, more expensive, required certified rental certificates and expensive health certificates. Many live in a confined space in a vulnerable position. 39% do not have clean drinking water. The state offers Syrian children free schooling, but around 20% have to drop out to earn a living. There is no access to vocational training. Many girls get into forced marriages or prostitution. 41% of Syrians live illegally in the country, many only cross it when fleeing to Turkey.


In Afghanistan there has been almost uninterrupted war and civil war since 1980, so that around half of the population has left the country since then. Since the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) expired in 2014, the number of civilians killed and injured (including many children) has risen sharply again. The Taliban and other armed Islamists are carrying out attacks. Humanitarian workers are also attacked, and their organizations fail to reach many regions of the country. In 2014, the second most refugees worldwide came from Afghanistan.

In 2015, the Taliban captured many more district centers. According to the UN, around 6.3 million Afghans were affected by fighting, and almost 196,000 people fled. At the beginning of 2016, the Afghan refugee minister Hossain Alemi Balkhi declared 31 of his country's 34 provinces to be too unsafe to carry out repatriations of the elderly, the sick and children.

In June 2016, Amnesty International and the UN estimated the number of internally displaced persons in Afghanistan at almost 1.2 million. Aid from the West has decreased significantly 15 years after the start of the war in Afghanistan . The neighboring states of Pakistan and Iran together are home to more than three million Afghans. According to a report by special instructor John Sopko in the US Senate, the Afghan government only controlled 233 (57.2%) of the 407 districts in mid-November 2016. 41 districts were in the hands of the Taliban, 133 districts were contested. About 9.2 million Afghans lived in the contested areas.


In parts of Pakistan , there is an internal conflict between the government and militant insurgents, including the Taliban, who control parts of the state's territory. In addition, the country was repeatedly hit by natural disasters (e.g. flood disaster in 2010 ). In addition, there is daily violence against women and religious minorities (such as Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and the Ahmadiyya ).

Since the beginning of November, Pakistan has refused to take back deported Pakistani refugees and has banned aircraft with refugees on board, with the exception of aircraft from Great Britain, from landing. Interior Minister Ali Khan justified the suspension of the existing readmission agreement on the claim that the European states schöben Pakistanis, because there lightly, insinuating them a terrorist background.

Sub-Saharan Africa

In Sub-Saharan Africa , around four million internally displaced persons have fled their regions of origin because of humanitarian emergencies and armed conflicts, mainly from Somalia, Sudan , South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic . In the decades-long Somali civil war , all parties to the conflict (government troops, Islamist terrorist militia Al-Shabaab and the African Union ) commit serious human rights violations, kidnap, torture, rape and forcibly recruit people, including children as child soldiers . According to AI, over a million people were displaced from Somalia in 2014. 2.1 million need humanitarian aid, 100,000 civilians were injured or killed. A prolonged drought and blockades in aid supplies and access to those in need made the situation worse. The UN classifies the humanitarian crisis in Somalia as the worst in the world. Only the autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland in the north were considered relatively stable.

The civil war in southern Sudan since 2013 sales according to the UN about two million Sudanese, of which 500,000 in neighboring countries. Four million suffer from acute food shortages. 400,000 children are no longer allowed to attend school, and 70% of schools in contested areas have had to close. According to AI, all warring parties completely disregard human rights, also because there is no accountability. Eritrea is a military dictatorship with a planned economy and one-party regime and is one of the poorest countries in the world. The UN registers ongoing systematic violations of human rights in Eritrea . In 2014 around 340,000 Eritreans fled the country.

By 2016, over a million Eritreans had fled, although it is forbidden to flee from the country and soldiers with orders to shoot are guarding the borders. Around 28 criminal gangs of people smuggled the route between them and brought migrants for set prices (around 4,000 US dollars at the time) initially to Khartoum , for a further 3,000 dollars by delivery truck through the desert to the coast in Libya; the crossing costs another $ 3,000. Often they leave migrants to their own devices in Eastern Sudan, where armed gangs kidnap them, torture them for weeks and systematically extort high ransom money from their relatives (~ US $ 15,000 per person). Those who are not ransomed are either left disoriented in the desert or killed. The authorities of Sudan do not take action against the gang leaders they know because they benefit from them themselves. The business with migrants, along with drug and arms trafficking, has become the most profitable branch of the economy in Central Africa since the EU closed itself tightly and prevented legal entry. The main reasons given are unsatisfactory future prospects, unlimited military service, fear of arbitrary arrest or prison terms. Every Eritrean who now lives abroad has to pay a "development tax" of 2% of his gross income to the state retroactively from the date of departure.

Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest population growth in the world. Only a few benefit from the country's wealth of resources ( oil ) and the relatively high economic output; Corruption is widespread. The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram is active in northern Nigeria, and its attacks and the government's response to them killed over 14,000 people between 2009 and 2014. In 2014, 6347 civilian deaths were counted.

In Niger , 10,500 people are on the urgency list for resettlement in the EU, in the central African state of Chad 83,500. In the past few years only 756 have been resettled in Canada and the USA, none in Europe.

In the Sahara in 2019, the small local private initiative Alarmphone-Sahara, which it claims to be dependent on support, offered help for people in need locally.

Maghreb states

In 2015, more refugees came from the Maghreb countries of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia than before via the eastern Mediterranean route to Europe. According to Pro Asyl, the reasons for fleeing are poverty, high unemployment, a lack of freedom of the press, persecution of minorities, arbitrary detention and abuse. In the democracy index 2014 calculated by the business magazine The Economist , Algeria and Morocco are classified as authoritarian regimes .

According to Amnesty International (January 2016), an estimated 50% of young academics are unemployed; therefore, many people left Morocco. Algeria is suffering from the consequences of the Algerian civil war , low oil prices and the poor economic situation. In addition, dissidents and homosexuals are persecuted in both states.

In the summer of 2017, significantly more people from Morocco took boats to Spain than in the previous year. Frontex attributed the increase to growing instability in some countries of origin and transit and to the dismantling of some refugee camps in Morocco and Algeria. The majority of those arriving in Spain, according to a spokesman for the Red Cross in the province of Cadiz , come from Morocco and most of them are fleeing the unrest in the Rif Mountains . According to media reports, the protests in the Berber region of the Rif Mountains are "the worst unrest since the Arab Spring 2011". The correspondent Alexander Gschwind reported that the government under Mohammed VI. have announced new flows of refugees across the Strait of Gibraltar in the event that they are prevented from "restoring order" in the Rif. Gschwind saw this as a threat from the Moroccan government to Spain and Brussels.


After the civil war of 2011 , which ended with the overthrow of the dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi , Libya fell apart and was deeply divided. Large parts of the country are still ruled by various militias who fight each other. The collapse of the state opened new routes to Europe for refugees. In addition, thousands of Africans who had previously lived in Libya as migrant workers came to Italy as refugees via the Mediterranean route.

In autumn 2014, during the second civil war , Islamist militias drove the previously internationally recognized council of deputies to Tobruk and formed the New General National Congress (NGNC) in Tripoli . Both parties rejected a proposal by the UN to share government power in order to receive more aid for reconstruction and the fight against migration. In early November 2015, the NGNC threatened to rent ships and flood Europe with hundreds of thousands of migrants if the EU did not recognize it as the legitimate government of Libya. His representative pointed to costly measures against migrant crossings, including coastal surveillance, prison centers, feeding the captured migrants, and return programs. According to Libyan sources, around 8,000 militiamen were fighting people smuggling and illegal entry into Libya. Small patrols monitored the ports and collected bodies of drowned migrants. The Coast Guard brought captured migrants to Tripoli to collective prisons. Congress refused to increase staff because of the instability of the government and saw migration prevention as more of a problem for Europe. German diplomats described the conditions in Libyan refugee camps as " similar to concentration camps ".

A unity government mediated by the UN in December 2015, the Government of National Accord (GNA) under Fayiz al-Sarradsch , with a High Council of State appointed by the NGNC as the second chamber alongside the Council of Representatives, was unable to resolve the conflict. The council of deputies in Tobruk, with Khalifa Haftar as military leader, did not recognize the GNA, while various militias, including IS units, fought each other in Tripoli and other parts of the country.

In June 2018, the UN Security Council announced sanctions against six leaders of smuggling networks in Libya, of which Ermias Ghermay is considered the most important, and Abd Al Rahman al-Milad, who heads the coast guard in the Zawiya section and is said to be smuggling people himself. This decision was also a response to the global outrage that media reports sparked in late 2017. Among other things, film recordings by CNN from Libya had shown a slave market at which migrants were auctioned.

In Bani Walid , which is the place of residence for sub-Saharan migrants on their way to Europe and for their people smugglers , there is (as of 2019) a private aid initiative.

At the turn of the year 2019/2020, the persistently poor humanitarian situation threatened to worsen due to the ongoing civil war.


Turkey has been the main transit country for Syrian and other refugees since 2011. Around 100,000 Syrians had already fled there in 2012; in August 2014 their number rose to around 1.4 million, and by November 2015 to over two million. According to Human Rights Watch , Turkey has only allowed refugees to enter in exceptional cases since March 2015. More than 600,000 refugees left Turkey for Europe in 2015. The migration researcher Murat Erdogan said that “many refugees who statistically continue to appear in Turkey have long been in Europe.” In September 2015, several thousand refugees attempted to collectively cross the Turkish-Greek or Turkish-Bulgarian land border from Istanbul , but were stopped by the Turkish police in Edirne . It is not known how many Syrians were still in Turkey at the beginning of March 2016. The Turkish government stated 2.7 million, but only 270,000 of them were camp residents. It is not known how many have left Turkey for Europe. The UNHCR registered a total of 5.52 million Syrian refugees from 2013 to the beginning of 2018, of which 1.46 million in Turkey, 997,552 in Lebanon, 655,524 in Jordan, 254,057 in Egypt, 126,688 in Egypt, 30,104 in Libya. Some Arab states also took in Syrian refugees, but gave them little financial support. There was a lack of resources in the UN refugee camps. More and more of the camp residents tried to get to Europe.

Number and distribution of Syrian refugees in the Middle East (as of September 2015)

According to its own information, the United Nations World Food Program was only able to provide around 154,000 refugees in Turkey with food in the summer of 2015. According to its government, Turkey had spent seven billion euros on the accommodation and care of refugees by the end of 2015. However, most of the Syrian refugees did not receive any financial support and were not allowed to work legally in Turkey. In October 2015, the Greek authorities suspected Turkey of deliberately accelerating the refugee movement in order to obtain aid funds and visa relief for Turks from the EU. In addition, in 2014 Turkey only approved six of 9,000 Greek take-back requests, despite a return agreement with Greece.

According to the UNHCR, there were around 5.6 million war refugees in Syria's neighboring countries in September 2018, including more than 3.6 million in Turkey. Around 360,000 of the refugees and asylum seekers living in Turkey come from countries other than Syria, mainly Afghanistan , Iraq and Iran .


In Bangladesh there is often violence against religious minorities and against women. In addition, there have been increasing attacks on secularists and members of religious minorities in Bangladesh since 2013 . In the first three months of 2016, only one person from Bangladesh was registered in Italy. Since 2017 people smugglers in Libya began to network better internationally. From January to March 2017, 2,831 registered refugees from Bangladesh came to Italy.

Russia and Ukraine

As a result of the war in Ukraine since 2014 , one million people are dependent on humanitarian aid such as shelter, food and medicine. 1.3 million were internally displaced in May 2015. 860,000 Ukrainians (33% of them children) fled to neighboring countries. The unstable security situation, destroyed infrastructure and bureaucratic obstacles make access difficult for aid organizations. Against the background of the human rights situation in Russia, there are still asylum-seeking Russian citizens.

Western Balkans

Most of the refugees within Europe came from the Western Balkans during the breakup process of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The existing migration networks and the visa exemption for most of the Western Balkans, which was introduced in 2009/2010, caused a renewed increase in immigration to Central Europe. The push factors include the consequences of civil wars, high unemployment , impoverishment, lack of educational opportunities, weak social and health systems, corruption , nepotism , discrimination and persecution of minorities such as the Roma . From 2012 to 2015, 58% of asylum seekers from the Western Balkans submitted their applications in Germany.

According to the World Bank , one third of the population in Kosovo lives in existential poverty. Other reasons for fleeing are the shadow economy , organized crime and ethnic tensions (especially antiziganism against the Roma). In Albania, the common law of Kanun , blood vengeance , vigilante justice and violence against women also prevail .

Germany, Austria and Switzerland regard Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia as safe countries of origin , and since October 24, 2015 Germany has also considered Kosovo and Montenegro.

EU migration policy

Dublin procedure

EU policy should balance the economic interest in the smoothest possible international trade and mobility with the interest in controlling and managing migration. For this, the EU Commission decided in the summer of 2013. Common European Asylum System (CEAS) with five revised guidelines: the Asylum Procedures Directive , the Qualification Directive , the Reception Conditions Directive , the Dublin III Regulation and the Eurodac Regulations . The CEAS decision emphasizes the shared responsibility of the EU states to guarantee the fundamental right to asylum according to uniform standards and procedures in order to reduce the unequal treatment of asylum seekers and to avoid shifting the asylum procedure to other EU states. These problems arose from contradictions between the dismantling of border controls in the Schengen area on the one hand and the obligation to accept first-time applicants on the other. In order to compensate for the opening of internal borders, the EU's external borders should be more strongly secured, more illegal entry into the EU should be prevented and asylum seekers who have entered EU territory should be better protected on a humanitarian basis. Standardized procedures and social benefits for asylum seekers were largely missed, however, as the density of rules is too complex and leaves too much scope for discretion. The migration of many asylum seekers to other EU countries could not be prevented either. Before and during the refugee crisis, there were many national solo efforts that undermined and endangered the legal standards already achieved.

Schengen area (blue) and future members (yellow)

According to the Dublin Convention of 1990, the state where a refugee first reaches Europe should register him and carry out his asylum procedure. That is why the southern European border states Greece and Italy had to take in the vast majority of incoming refugees. Even before the crisis, they allowed unregistered refugees to travel on to Central Europe ("wave them through") because the EU, including Germany, had blocked a fair distribution key until 2015. The Dublin III regulation of 2013, which came into force in 2015, only regulates responsibility for asylum procedures, not the Europe-wide distribution of asylum seekers. Due to the high number of refugees arriving, most of whom wanted to apply for asylum in other countries, and the lack of reception capacities, the border states responsible only registered some of them in the summer of 2015 and mostly allowed them to continue their journey directly. Other EU countries along the Western Balkans route then initially suspended border controls. The mandatory return transfers also only took place to a limited extent. The Dublin rules proved impracticable in this situation.

After the decline in the number of immigrants, the EU Commission recommended on December 8, 2016 that the asylum procedures should be carried out again in the countries of the asylum seekers' first entry in accordance with the Dublin rules from March 15, 2017. According to EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, “vulnerable” and underage asylum seekers should not be sent back there. The regulation should only apply to asylum seekers arriving in the future. The authorities and courts of the EU states would have to make a final decision.

In November 2017, the European Parliament proposed some changes to the EU Commission's draft law on Dublin reform. According to this, the EU state in which relatives of an asylum seeker live should possibly carry out the asylum procedure, and the family term in the asylum qualification directive should be extended to more distant relatives. Because asylum seekers traveled to their relatives anyway, families could also be brought together right away, thus saving procedural costs. States with external EU borders should remain responsible for security checks and prevent obvious economic refugees from continuing their journey. German government representatives feared, however, that in future it would be sufficient to simply claim a relationship. This will significantly expand family reunification to Germany. The European Council must reject the proposals. The parliamentary proposal did not provide for a punishment for asylum seekers who, after being assigned to one EU country, travel on to another.

Border security

Refugees near the border between Serbia and Hungary (August 25, 2015)
Refugees on the border bridge between Salzburg and Freilassing (September 23, 2015)

The Schengen Borders Code (SGK, 2006) and the Schengen Information System (SIS, 2013) enable uniform visas for the Schengen area, searches, acquisition and exchange of biometric data. 90% of the accesses to the SIS database served to refuse entry to foreigners from third countries. The SGK amendment of 2013 allows border controls in the Schengen area limited to six months in defined exceptional cases, checked by EU bodies, of a “serious threat to public order” or if other EU states do not adequately secure their borders. On September 13, 2015, Germany introduced temporary identity checks at the border with Austria in order to register refugees upon entry. Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière named urgent “security reasons” in order to regain “an orderly procedure” upon entry. The EU Commission legitimized the measure for an initial ten days, but warned of a domino effect. Shortly afterwards, Austria, Slovakia and the Netherlands also announced temporary border controls. Since March 2016, the 28 EU states have applied the SGK again to end the “irregular flow of migrants” on the Balkan route. On September 16, their heads of government called for the exclusion of uncontrolled migration flows, complete control of the external borders, a return to Schengen and a long-term joint migration policy characterized by responsibility and solidarity in the “ Bratislava Roadmap ”. On February 1, 2017, the EU Commission recommended that controls at certain internal borders be continued in order to preserve the Schengen area as a whole. Despite the decline in new arrivals, there is still considerable migratory pressure at the EU's external borders and many migrants are still in Greece. On May 2, 2017, the EU allowed border controls to be extended by six months; further extensions are illegal.

Between 2003 and 2010, the EU granted Morocco almost EUR 68 million in loans to secure borders. Spain had military barriers built around Ceuta and Melilla before 2015. Police patrols forcibly repel anyone who overcomes a fence there and applies for asylum. Greece and Bulgaria built walls and fences on their mainland borders with Turkey, Hungary from June 2015 border facilities on the border with Serbia and Croatia , Slovenia on the border with Croatia, Austria on the border with Slovenia, North Macedonia from November 2015 on the border with Greece. All new border installations are intended to prevent illegal crossings and facilitate controls at designated crossings, but have already been overcome by migrants. They are criticized for lack of effectiveness and incorrect prioritization. In 2015, Austria and Germany supplied surveillance technology to North Macedonia, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary also sent police officers there. In September 2017, the Hungarian government demanded half the costs (440 million euros) of the border construction from the EU, which the EU rejected.

Refugees at the Gevgelija border crossing , North Macedonia, August 24, 2015

From the summer of 2015, refugees often ran into police officers, especially at border crossings on the Balkan route and already in Turkey. In September 2015, many refugees walked from Istanbul to the Bulgarian border, 250 km away, and demanded legal access to EU territory in order not to risk their lives when crossing the sea. The Turkish police broke up a refugee camp near Edirne with tear gas and batons. Most of the camp residents returned after days of street fighting.

In 2004, the EU created the Frontex agency to protect its external borders more effectively, while preserving national sovereignty over border protection. Initially, Frontex was not a border police and was supposed to support the EU states with risk analyzes, information exchange, training of border officials and support staff in border protection and collective returns. Since 2006, your budget has increased from 19 million to 114 million euros per year. Frontex has emergency response teams to counter a “massive influx of third-country nationals”. Above all, they prevented boat refugees from reaching Europe, pushed them back and thus collectively prevented the filing of asylum applications. In doing so, they broke the principle of non-refoulement of the CSF (Article 33). That is why the EU Council committed Frontex in 2011 with an amendment to the founding regulation to comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the EU and the GRC. A fundamental rights officer should ensure this compliance. From January 2016, the EU wanted to upgrade Frontex to an independent police unit, initially in North Macedonia and then in particular to protect the Greek EU external border.

In September 2015, the German embassy in Kabul (Afghanistan) saw signs that the Afghan government had issued one million passports to travel to Europe. On December 20, 2015, Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri declared the “large flows of people who are currently entering Europe uncontrolled” a security risk. Terrorists could impersonate refugees and smuggle in with forged or machine-made passports. He referred to lists of serial numbers of lost passports from Syria and Iraq, which European authorities can use to detect forged passports. German police union representatives criticized the fact that not all refugees who entered Germany had their fingerprints taken and that not all of them had been recorded by the identification service. In hundreds of thousands of cases, the border guards on the German-Austrian border do not know who entered under what name and why. These conditions are "dangerous to the state". The security authorities in Europe cannot access fingerprint data of refugees in June 2017. There was a lack of uniform standards for the asylum procedure and rules to prevent recognized asylum seekers from moving to other EU countries.

Closure of the Balkan route and consequences

In the summer of 2015, the situation on the Western Balkans route worsened. Several thousand people passed through North Macedonia and Serbia every day, up to July a total of over 100,000. Hungary started building the border fence with Serbia. Both states were organizationally and economically overwhelmed. The humanitarian conditions were catastrophic; Refugees waited for escape helpers at illegal assembly points without any infrastructure.

On October 25, 2015, the heads of state and government of ten EU countries as well as Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia decided at a special summit on a 17-point plan for immediate measures to reduce the number of refugees on the Balkan route: 100,000 new reception places for refugees should be on the Balkan route created, of which 50,000 in Greece. 400 border guards should be dispatched to Slovenia within a week to relieve the burden. Frontex should better secure the border between Greece, North Macedonia, Albania and Serbia. A network of contact persons at the highest level should be created within 24 hours in order to achieve “a gradual, controlled and orderly movement” of the refugees on the Balkan route. Newcomers should be registered biometrically in the countries of first reception . Refugees who are not entitled to protection should be deported to their country of origin as soon as possible. Refugees should not be led to another state's border without the consent of another state.

During the “ Brexit ” negotiations on February 19, 2016, the Greek head of state demanded that the resolutions only be approved if the Balkan route remained open. On February 22, 2016, the Greek Vice Minister Ioannis Mouzalas said that the heads of state had agreed at the EU summit to keep the Balkan route open to Iraqis, Syrians and Afghans until March. Austria's Interior Minister confirmed that Germany had promised Greece a continuation of the “policy of open borders”.

On the initiative of Austria, a Western Balkans conference to reduce the number of refugees along the Balkan route was held in Vienna on February 24, 2016 . Greece was not invited. The conference participants agreed to alternately send police officers to control particularly affected border areas and to standardize the criteria for the registration and rejection of refugees. Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and North Macedonia closed their borders to almost all refugees who tried to immigrate via the western Balkan route. This caused a backlog in Greece and exacerbated the sometimes chaotic conditions there. The measures were planned as a "desired chain reaction of reason" to put the EU Commission and Greece under pressure and to reduce the number of asylum seekers in Austria. According to a Frontex report, the number of refugees on the Balkan route fell in spring 2016, mainly because of this. According to Austria's Foreign Minister at the time, Sebastian Kurz , there was “massive resistance” to the route being closed during the planning phase. In retrospect (May 2016), the step is correct and has now also been recognized as effective. It was “not going it alone, but a regional measure” as a result of “massive excessive demands”. North Macedonia in particular has taken on a very difficult task without benefiting from it itself. Positive consequences for Germany would have to be assessed there. The EU refused to close.

When North Macedonia closed its border with Greece at the end of February 2016 and, like other Balkan states, only allowed a few daily border crossings, around 8,500 Syrians and Iraqis were stranded in the Idomeni camp with the prospect of protection status . Because this only had space for a maximum of 2,500 people, a few hundred residents broke through Greek police chains and pried open a border gate. Macedonian police used tear gas against them; some migrants responded by throwing stones. Because of the feared border closure, many newcomers had rushed through Greece to the Macedonian border. The attempt to storm the border followed a rumor that the Macedonian border was open again. Arson attacks were carried out on newly built camps in northern Greece.

As early as 2015, Human Rights Watch recorded a lot of evidence and testimony of border guards violating the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Afterwards, Croatian police immediately pushed asylum seekers back to Serbia unchecked, often stealing their money, destroying their smartphones and abusing those affected. Serbia did not accommodate those who had been rejected in a humane manner, so that children also had to spend the night outdoors. After the closure of the Balkan route, many smaller refugee camps were set up at the EU's external borders (such as Šid in Serbia), whose residents are mostly minors, have been walking for years and receive no state aid. They are exposed to the cold, lack of water, poor hygiene, infections and almost daily abuse by the border police in Hungary, Croatia and Bulgaria. 92% of the children and adolescents who received psychosocial help from Doctors Without Borders up to July 2017 reported deliberate police violence. By then, volunteer associations had documented 86 cases, including bite wounds from police dogs, severe bruises, injuries from pepper spray or tasers. According to Pro Asyl , states have effectively suspended European asylum law at these borders. Closing the Balkan route also strengthened gangs of smugglers and gangs. Only civil society engagement, not the EU, prevents humanitarian disasters in the refugee shelters.

Fight against human smugglers and rescue at sea

In the course of the refugee crisis, criminal networks of people smugglers emerged who sell refugees for large sums of money logistical aid for illegal border crossings, entry and residence. After many migrant families have sold all their property and gone into debt, migrants often do everything in their power not to have to turn back unsuccessfully. Organized smuggling networks are profit-oriented, use the dependency on migrants to increase sales and often put their lives at risk. The transitions to human trafficking are fluid, as smugglers-dependent customers can be easily defrauded, deprived of their funds, exploited, forced into prostitution and drug trafficking, or sold as slaves.

On the central Mediterranean route smuggle smugglers or tractor refugees often in small, overcrowded boats with just enough fuel from the Libyan territorial waters. After leaving the twelve-mile zone, many of them send an emergency call to the EU naval mission “Sophia” , whose ships are obliged by the international law of the sea to rescue them from the twelve-mile zone. Since September 2015, 13,000 refugees have been brought to EU territory in this way. Many of the unseaworthy and overloaded boats capsize, so that many people drown before they can be rescued.

After the two boat accidents off Lampedusa at the beginning of October 2013 (more than 600 deaths in total), the Italian Navy and Coast Guard expanded the ongoing surveillance operation Constant Vigilance in the Strait of Sicily into Operation Mare Nostrum , which was five times larger , and presented it as a humanitarian sea rescue operation. She saved around 150,000 people. Italy ended it after a year because the EU did not want to bear the costs (around 10 million euros per month). It was replaced by the Frontex Operation Triton , the goals and means of which were much more limited: it was supposed to work with the military and border protection authorities in the Mediterranean region, rescue refugees from distress in coastal waters, above all fight smugglers at sea and on land directly and destroy their transport boats.

In 2015, according to Europol, 90% of 1.2 million illegal border crossings took place with the support of smugglers. They earned an estimated three to six billion euros from it. Europol has set up a new center to combat people smuggling . In 2016, Europol identified people smuggling as the fastest growing criminal market in Europe. On EU decision of 18./19. In February 2016, a German-led NATO naval unit in the Aegean is expected to deliver results of reconnaissance to combat people smugglers. Four ships of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 report suspicious ship movements to the coast guards of Greece and Turkey. The crews are not allowed to stop refugee boats, but rescue refugees from distress at sea and bring them back to Turkey. which was later put into perspective. To reduce the number of refugees in the EU, Libya would have to allow EU-commanded warships to take action against smugglers directly in its territorial waters.

In June 2016, the EU Council decided to help build the Libyan coast guard's capacities against smugglers and for search and rescue operations.

According to the UN, 99,846 people were rescued from refugee boats from January 1 to September 3, 2017. From August 2017, the number fell sharply because the Libyan coast guard and the Italian navy stopped refugee boats and brought the passengers back to Libya. On August 10, the Libyan government declared its own rescue zone outside its own territorial waters and forbade NGOs to enter it without its permission. With Italian help, she also hired militias to interrupt the overland transport of refugees to Libya. The Libyan Coast Guard repeatedly shot at rescuers' ships to drive them away and intimidate them. Some experts criticized that this would lead to more deaths and violate the international law obligation to rescue at sea and to ensure free shipping.

In the summer of 2014, UN Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres asked the EU to take in more refugees from Syria, demanded legal entry routes and registration centers and warned against uncontrolled entry into Europe with the help of smugglers. EU representatives and authorities responsible for EU external borders such as Frontex assign the main blame for the deaths in the Mediterranean to the smugglers: They would use more and more unseaworthy boats out of greed for profit. The migration researcher Klaus Jürgen Bade , on the other hand, criticizes that the ongoing mass deaths in the Mediterranean are a consequence of EU migration policy: This lacks a sustainable and coherent immigration concept. It offers migrants from war and poverty regions hardly any legal access routes to Europe and only relies on their deterrence. In its increasingly effective defense measures against asylum seekers, refugees and other unwanted immigrants, the EU is accepting the death rates at its external borders. Nobody should accuse the EU of failing to provide assistance, but it is politically calculating the current death because it is overriding border security to sea rescue. He referred to SZ editor Heribert Prantl , who described the mass deaths of refugees after the boat accident off Lampedusa (2013) as “part of the EU's deterrent strategy”. Humanitarian organizations also criticize the EU's policy of isolation and demand safe escape corridors as well as a sea rescue coordinated and adequately equipped by the EU. The SZ commentator Andrea Bachstein fears that escape corridors could act as an “invitation to the greatest possible mass migration from the poor regions of the world”. Some humanitarian organizations criticize the fact that the Frontex contract, which is limited to smugglers near the coast, amounts to a fight against refugees. They also reject the rejection of refugees to Libya because of the serious human rights violations there, especially in refugee camps. According to Amnesty International , the conditions in Libya are characterized by unimaginable violence and hopelessness. AI therefore recommends an evacuation of all refugees imprisoned there.

Agreement with Turkey

In November 2015, the German federal government assigned Turkey a key role in dealing with the refugee crisis. For more cooperation in securing the EU's external borders, Chancellor Angela Merkel promised Turkey that it would make travel easier for its citizens, more money for refugee camps and a new dynamic in Turkey's accession negotiations with the European Union . Turkey asked the EU for a return agreement and a visa exemption for the Schengen area from July 2016.

The “hotspots” concept should be implemented by the end of November 2015. In return for Turkish reception camps, Turkey demanded that the EU support a militarily secured buffer and no-fly zone in northern Syria in order to prevent the Kurdish militias fighting against IS from expanding there and to enable Turkey to return around two million refugees to Syria . The EU and Turkey had agreed to pay three billion euros for two years. In November 2015, Erdogan instead demanded three billion euros per year. On November 30, 2015, the EU and Turkey agreed an action plan to limit immigration to the EU via Turkey. Whether this plan reduced the influx of refugees to Europe is controversial: While the EU Commission found a decrease of more than 50% in one week, according to the UNHCR the influx rose by 36% that week. At the turn of the year 2015-2016, government agencies in Greece continued to count up to 4,000 arrivals a day despite bad weather and heavy seas. They blamed Turkey for it. At the beginning of January 2016, the Bavarian Minister of the Interior identified around 3,000 refugees arriving every day.

On December 17, 2015, ten EU states agreed with Turkey on a “contingent plan” for the resettlement of refugees. Eleven EU countries, including Germany and Austria, wanted to take in refugees directly from Turkey; all 28 EU members could take part. Some Eastern European EU states, however, refused to accept Muslims on principle. The size of the refugee contingents was not disclosed. The Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called for it to be measured generously. Resettlement should begin with Syrians.

From January 8, 2016, Syrians in Turkey were required to have a visa because, according to the Turkish government, more and more people with forged Syrian passports were entering the country via Egypt and Lebanon. At the same time, Syrian refugees in Turkey received work permits, free health care and schooling. A particularly large number of them moved to Gaziantep near the Syrian border, where there was a high demand for labor due to the booming export industries. After tens of thousands of Syrians fled the Aleppo region in February 2016, Turkey closed its borders and tried to help people in Syria together with aid organizations. At the same time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened that if the EU did not support Turkey more generously, its western borders would be opened.

The relocation concept was negotiated again at the EU-Turkey summit in early March 2016. The direct transport of refugees from Turkish camps to EU countries should curb the smuggling crime and reduce risky crossings to Greece. Human rights activists emphasized that the collective deportation of boat refugees to Turkey without individual assessment contradicts applicable international and European law, as does the deportation of non-Syrian refugees from Turkey to countries of origin that violate human rights or wage war. Politicians and human rights activists feared that concessions to Turkey would weaken the EU and strengthen Erdogan's autocratic rule.

On March 18, 2016, the European Council unanimously put the EU-Turkey Agreement into effect. This increased the EU aid funds by three to six billion euros and agreed to accelerate their disbursement. The EU has now transferred parts of the funds that had been promised for refugee aid projects in Turkey. The latter undertook to take back all persons who entered Greece illegally from now on, while the EU allowed legal asylum seekers to enter or relocate from Turkey. A refugee can only stay in Greece if he can prove that he is being persecuted in Turkey. That should cut human traffickers and smugglers' business foundation. Turkish citizens should be granted visa waiver to travel to the EU if Turkey met a number of conditions. After April 4, the resettlement of a maximum of 72,000 civil war refugees from Turkey to Europe began. These conditions are not met as of November 2018.

According to data from the EU Commission, since the contract was signed by the end of 2017, 35,000 and by January 2018 62,190 refugees from Turkey had entered Greek islands. 1,600 people were repatriated to Turkey. The abolition of the visa requirement remained controversial. After the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016 (July), EU politicians feared that the country would fall into an injustice regime that would induce many Turks to flee to the EU without a visa.

On February 27, 2020, a high-ranking Turkish official announced in the wake of the escalating Syrian-Turkish conflict that the Turkish police, coast guards and border guards had received orders not to stop refugees' land and sea routes to Europe. This marks the de facto end of the agreement. The European border protection agency Frontex has now set the alarm level to "high" for the EU borders with Turkey and has announced that it will send emergency services and equipment there as part of a "rapid reaction force". It is being discussed whether Frontex officials should be withdrawn from other borders for this purpose. On March 19, 2020, Turkey closed the borders with the EU again.

Distribution and relocation

In Europe, it is not the European Union that grants asylum, but the Member States. Member States can, however, close their borders to refugees without being able to be put under lasting pressure to do so. For decades, all attempts to achieve a solidarity distribution of refugees have failed. According to an analysis by migration researcher Stefan Luft, European distribution agreements have the advantage of preventing tension, chaos and overloading of individual states. In times of greater population movements, however, there is hardly any incentive to agree to European distribution procedures that are automatically set in motion and to which one is then at the mercy.

The Dublin rules exclude the equal distribution of asylum seekers and asylum seekers in the EU, because they oblige the first country of entry to accept, register and clarify responsibility for the asylum procedure, and then one country to carry it out. Germany in particular benefited from this and, since 2007, has deported more asylum seekers to other EU countries than it accepted from them. The EU Commission has long been calling for a distribution key to compensate for this, and in 2010 it examined the political, financial, legal and practical possibilities of redistributing asylum seekers between European countries. However, EU-wide takeover programs could not be implemented. In particular, the economically weaker Eastern European countries, which have hardly any experience with large-scale immigration, reject the admission of refugees and a quota system. Since 2014, many returns from Germany have not been carried out, mainly because first-entry states do not guarantee asylum seekers humane treatment. The ECHR and German courts temporarily suspended transfers to Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Malta and Cyprus because of “systemic deficiencies” in the asylum procedures there. The ECHR obliged all Dublin states to have Italy assure them humane treatment for each individual refugee. Nevertheless, only 17% of the approximately 28,000 approved transfers to another Dublin state were carried out in 2014 because many of those affected had previously gone into hiding, host states rejected their jurisdiction and failed to carry out the mandatory EURODAC screening. The harmonization of asylum law and living conditions in Europe had been neglected or hardly attempted since the first Dublin Treaty in 1985. The EU asylum directives are implemented very differently. The strong differences in approved initial applications (protection rates) favor further migration to those states with the best chance of success for asylum applications and tolerance. The most heavily burdened host countries, in turn, tightened their border controls to the point of inhuman measures, did not allow the refugees any legal entry options and thus increased illegal locks. Since the temporary suspension of the Dublin rules in the summer of 2015, the Dublin system has practically failed. Human rights organizations are therefore calling for the criterion of first entry to be dropped and for asylum seekers to be able to freely choose the destination country, also in order to strengthen the political will to harmonize asylum law, asylum procedures, social benefits and living conditions.

Positions of the national governments on the planned EU distribution key for refugees (2015):
EU immigration quota plan map.svg
Original point of view
2015-09-22 EU JHA Council majority vote to relocate 120,000 refugees.svg
Voting behavior
  • advocacy
  • Rejection
  • abstention
  • Exceptions in asylum policy
  • In June, the Eastern European countries of the Visegrád Group and Great Britain strictly rejected a quota system. In August 2015, referendums in those states confirmed the rejection. They also rejected a new proposal by the EU Commission from September 2015, which provided for compensation payments for unfulfilled admission quotas.

    On July 20, 2015, the EU Council for Justice and Home Affairs decided to regulate the resettlement of 22,504 non-Europeans worthy of protection multilaterally and nationally. This happened from October 2015, with states associated with the EU also participating. By May 12, 2017, 16,163 people, including from Turkey, had been resettled in 21 EU countries.

    On September 9, 2015, the EU Commission proposed to redistribute 120,000 people who are clearly in need of protection in accordance with the Qualification Directive from the most heavily polluted EU countries, 15,600 of them from Italy and 50,400 from Greece. In addition, an EU list of safe countries of origin should be drawn up and expanded to include the Western Balkans and Turkey. A trust fund of 1.8 billion euros to tackle the root causes of migration in Africa should be set up. On September 14th, the EU Council decided as the first provisional measure to relocate 40,000 refugees from Greece and Italy to other EU countries. In response to German pressure, a “qualified majority” of the EU governments decided on September 22, 2015 to voluntarily and one-off relocation of 120,000 people in need of protection. The four Visegrad states Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary voted against it; Finland abstained. The majority decision is binding for all EU countries. Since Hungary refused, only Greece and Italy were exonerated. Germany wanted to take in 30,000 (a quarter). The participating states receive a lump sum of EUR 6,000 for each resettled person. The distribution decision should be implemented by September 2017. On September 25, 2015, the EU Commission passed 40 resolutions on infringement proceedings against 19 EU states that violated or failed to apply the common EU asylum law. By the end of October 2015, most EU countries had opposed the redistribution and had not registered any free capacities, so that a total of only 1,000 redistribution places were available. As a result, Jeroen Dijsselbloem , head of the Euro Group, suggested that EU countries not willing to accept the funding from Brussels should be reduced accordingly. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker considered the proposal to be worth considering and, in view of the reluctance to provide funding and the decision to relocate, called on the EU states to “do what they promised”. The contingent of 54,000 people originally planned for Hungary was to be used as of September 22, 2016 to relocate further persons in need of protection from Italy and Greece. On September 29, 2016, however, the EU Council decided to use these places for the legal admission of Syrians from Turkey.

    In December 2016, the heads of state and government of the EU set the goal of jointly reforming the existing asylum system thoroughly by the end of June 2017 and, in particular, including the distribution of refugees. In June 2017, the timeframe was extended and it was decided to continue deliberating on less controversial parts of the reform. On June 13, 2017, the EU Commission announced infringement proceedings against Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary because they had not taken any steps to accept refugees from Italy and Greece. On September 6, 2017, the European Court of Justice dismissed the claims of Hungary and Slovakia against the distribution of refugees. Both states would have to accept people from Greece and Italy who had previously received protection status there. Of the 160,000 refugees, fewer than 30,000 had been redistributed in the EU by then.

    The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland failed to meet their legal obligations to accept a total of 98,255 persons in need of protection to be relocated. The EU Commission therefore initiated infringement proceedings against you on June 14, 2017 . As of August 29, 2017, 27,228 people had been resettled. Of all the EU countries, only Malta fulfilled its quota. Denmark and Hungary did not accept any refugees at all. Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Belgium, Bulgaria and France took significantly less than promised. Germany and other member states had promised to take in refugees from those countries of origin that have an average recognition rate of more than 75 percent across Europe. In Greece and Italy, however, the vast majority of migrants from other countries of origin land, so that the quotas offered could hardly be used.

    On September 6, 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) dismissed the actions of Slovakia and Hungary against the Council decision of September 22, 2015 in full. On December 7, 2017, the EU Commission sued the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland before the European Court of Justice to force their participation in the 2015 relocation of refugees from Greece and Italy. The ECJ can impose fines.

    As part of the European Agenda on Migration, the EU Commission announced a new EU resettlement program in summer 2017. By autumn 2019, 20 of the 28 EU countries will take in 50,000 refugees who are currently in refugee camps in Libya, Egypt, Chad, Sudan and Niger. The selection of the resettlers is made by the UNHCR. The EU Commission is supporting the host countries with the measure with a total of EUR 500 million. The payment follows the EU resettlement framework proposed on July 13, 2016 , which intends to support the resettlement efforts of EU countries from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) with a one-off EUR 10,000 per person admitted. The Estonian Interior Minister Andres Anvelt said on November 15, 2017 in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) on the objective of resettlement: “Resettlement is a strategic instrument for managing migration flows. At the same time, resettlement is an important legal opportunity to ensure that those who really need help receive protection. With their help, the flows to our external borders will be reduced, the business model of smugglers will be smashed and unevenly distributed burdens, for example the efforts in the area of ​​returns, will be balanced out. "

    Upper limits

    The introduction of upper limits for the admission of refugees was discussed in many countries as the crisis progressed. The CSF does not allow the introduction of such upper limits. The only requirement in the preamble is a fair sharing of the burden. In some cases, attempts have been made to argue for the admissibility of such upper limits using the concept of a state of emergency , but this argumentation is not convincing, since the concept of emergency in the human rights area in general and within the framework of the NVC in particular must be interpreted narrowly. Unlike the declaration of the UN General Assembly on territorial asylum of 1967, the GRC does not provide for an emergency regulation in the event of increased numbers of refugees.

    On January 20, 2016, Austria was the first country to declare specific upper limits for asylum applications. However, the further course of action after these numbers were reached remained open. Various suggestions were discussed: 1.) Admit people after reaching the limit, but to suspend processing of applications so that there would be no family reunification. 2.) Directly reject refugees at the borders, since war refugees according to the GRC have no right to admission if they are not individually persecuted.

    Expulsions and deportations

    In 2015, 533,000 requests to leave the EU were issued, compared to 494,000 in 2016. Some were voluntarily obeyed , some forced through deportation . The EU authorities stated 228,000 deportations and voluntary departures for 2015 and 247,000 for 2016. This increased the exit rate from 43% to 50% in 2016. Almost 55,000 Syrians were asked to leave the EU. However, the largest group of citizens who ultimately left the EU upon request in both years were citizens of Albania with 34,000 emigrants in 2015 and 42,000 in 2016. In 2015 and 2016, however, the EU only counted 50,000 and 36,000 illegal stays by Albanians in the Union territory.

    European politicians announced on several occasions during the crisis that they would send people back to their countries of origin who were found not to be entitled to asylum or protection as refugees. An analysis of the deportation figures from Italy, France, Germany and Sweden, carried out by the ESI Institute , showed, according to press reports from summer 2017, that these states can hardly deport those people who came to Europe in the course of the refugee crisis. In contrast, the deportations carried out by these states during the crisis mainly affected people who had come to Northern Europe from their home in the Balkan states to seek protection. As an example of the inability to send people back, the case of 13,823 people from Nigeria who came to Italy across the Mediterranean and whose applications were rejected in 2016 was cited. 120 Nigerians were repatriated during the same period.

    In August 2017, the EU Commission estimated that 74% of people who reached the EU via the Mediterranean would probably stay, even if they had received an invitation to leave the EU. According to the Commission, the “effective return rate” for people outside the EU is 36.4%.

    On the basis of Eurostat data and data from the individual governments, researchers at the American Pew Research Center calculated in a study that of the more than 2 million refugees who came to the EU in 2015 and 2016, 3% or around 75,000 by 31 December 2016. However, the government data were too imprecise to be precise. One reason for failed deportations when the recognition rate is actually low is that rejected asylum seekers often cannot be deported to countries outside the EU under the legal conditions currently in force in the EU.

    Since January 10, 2017, action teams from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency have been able to support the return of irregular migrants at the request of EU member states and on their own initiative. 690 repatriation experts and escorts are available for this. Ultimately, the EU member states are responsible for returns.

    Financial aid to EU countries

    EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos August 2, 2012

    In August 2015, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos provided France and Great Britain with around € 50 million in EU emergency aid to prevent illegal border crossings between the two countries through the Eurotunnel . The EU subsidized AMIF , the Internal Security Fund (ISF), Frontex, EASO and Europol with 1.7 billion euros due to the influx of refugees in 2015 and 2016. The funds are also intended for the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and for Syria's neighboring states receiving refugees, the UNHCR and the World Food Program .

    As a result of the worsening situation in Southeastern Europe in February / March 2016, the EU Commission proposed on March 2, 2016 that countries such as Greece should provide up to 700 million euros over the next three years to deal with the refugee crisis. The first 300 million should flow in the current year 2016. 200 million euros each are earmarked for 2017 and 2018. Following the adoption of Regulation EU / 2016/369 by the European Council on March 15, the European Parliament approved the funds for the first round of EU funding on April 13.

    On April 19, 2016, the EU Commission provided around 83 million euros out of a total of 300 million euros in emergency aid planned for 2016 for the humanitarian care of refugees in Greece. The funds were given to UNHCR, the International Red Cross and six other international non-governmental organizations to provide refugees and migrants in Greece with access to basic medical care, food, better hygiene, child-friendly rooms and temporary housing. In addition, since 2015 Greece has already received emergency aid amounting to 181 million euros from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Fund for Internal Security (ISF) of the EU to deal with the refugee crisis . EUR 509 million from these two funds had already been allocated to Greece for a national program to deal with the refugee crisis for the period 2014-2020.

    Agreement with countries of origin and transit

    Before 2015, the EU represented around 7% of the world's population and 25% of the world's gross domestic product , providing 65% of global development aid and more than 50% of humanitarian aid .

    Because after the end of the visa requirement in some Western Balkan states (2009/2010), many of their citizens traveled to Germany and mostly filed hopeless asylum applications there, the EU Parliament decided in 2013, under German pressure, that the visa exemption for such states can be suspended. At that time, according to Eurostat, 429,000 third-country nationals without a regular residence permit were apprehended in the EU, whose repatriation should be regulated as uniformly as possible according to an EU directive from 2008. In October 2015, the EU Commission published a manual for standardized return measures in the EU.

    Even before 2015, the EU and some EU states had signed take-back agreements with "buffer states" in North Africa ( Mauritania , Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal) and neighboring states to the east (Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), and they strengthened and more efficient border security and cooperation Incentives for the voluntary return of their citizens as well as those who have traveled through their country are required. The aim is to prevent people from leaving the country in order to reduce migration pressure on Europe. In return, the EU promised these states financial aid and logistical support, but hardly any visa facilitation. It is counting on the fact that many of the contracting parties have not ratified the GFK and the ECHR and are preventing people from leaving the country without checking asylum claims. However, the effectiveness of the previous agreements and the actual number of returns that followed are unclear. In 2015, 486 million euros in development aid were paid to Morocco, mainly in the form of loans for the expansion of renewable energies . Algeria received six million euros.

    On September 12, 2015 in Malta, the EU and African countries decided on an action plan with the aim of fighting poverty in Africa through new jobs and more educational opportunities in order to prevent people from fleeing to Europe. Legal access to Europe should be made easier for Africans through exchange programs and simplified visa procedures. The African states should fight criminal smugglers' gangs, improve border protection and take back more rejected asylum seekers than before. In the first quarter of 2016, at least ten African countries should work on return agreements. For this plan, the EU wanted to create an emergency trust fund of more than 1.8 billion euros in addition to the roughly 20 billion euros in development aid for Africa each year . By November 12, 2015, however, the EU countries had paid around EUR 81.3 million into the fund. An attempted doubling of the fund failed. The agreed measures of the action plan should be implemented by the end of 2016.

    On September 23, 2015, the EU governments decided to increase financial aid for the UNHCR and other aid organizations, to support the large refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey with a total of one billion euros and to set up " initial reception hotspots " in Greece and Italy .

    At the forum for China-Africa cooperation on December 4, 2015 in Johannesburg, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised many African heads of state development aid of 56 billion euros by 2018. The funds are intended to remove the largest capacity bottlenecks on the continent and are intended for industrial projects, modernization of agriculture and the training of around 20,000 skilled workers. China also planned investments in infrastructure, generation and distribution of electrical energy and telecommunications.

    In January 2016 the EU Commission approved ten measures for the Sahel zone and the Chad basin , and by April 18, 2016 a further 20 .

    At the donor conference Supporting Syria and the Region on February 4, 2016, Germany, Great Britain, Norway, Kuwait and the UN made around six billion US dollars available for war victims and refugees in and around Syria in order to prevent further flight to Europe. Germany approved 570 million euros for the United Nations World Food Program and another 430 million euros for other UN aid programs. In 2017 and 2018, Germany plans to give another 1.1 billion euros to the Syria region.

    On March 18, 2016, the EU Council promised Libya's government (the national congress recognized as such) to help it restore stability, fight terrorism and manage migration in the central Mediterranean region. In return, according to a report by the EU Ambassador for Libya, 20,000 migrants were returned to their countries of origin with EU funds from Libyan refugee camps in the first few months of 2018. In addition, the states of the Sahel zone should be motivated with financial aid and promises to prevent migrants from fleeing to Europe and to take them back. A spokesman for the Libyan authorities announced that 20 of the 53 refugee camps in Libya have now been closed. That is why the number of crossings to Italy fell by 40% in 2017 compared to 2016. Further decline is also attributed to the EU naval operation “Sophia”. According to her own statements, she arrested 137 human traffickers and trained 188 members of the Libyan coast guard; At the end of 2018 there should be 300. The Libyan Coast Guard put four new coast protection boats delivered by Italy into service, with six more to follow.

    On June 7, 2016, the EU Commission presented plans for "migration partnerships" with the important countries of origin and transit, setting the following priorities:

    • To save lives at sea, to smash smuggling nets,
    • achieve the increased return / repatriation of irregular migrants,
    • to enable them to stay closer to their home,
    • to support the development of the third countries concerned in the long term.

    Eight billion euros should be made available by 2021 for migration pacts tailored to their respective circumstances, initially with Jordan and Lebanon, and later with Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and Ethiopia. The trust fund for Africa was increased by one billion euros, half from the European Development Fund and half from contributions from EU countries. For better business conditions in the countries of origin and transit, 3.1 billion euros have been mobilized, the total investment of up to 31 billion euros, with the same involvement of the EU states up to 62 billion euros. The European Investment Bank (EIB) should mobilize additional funds for projects in Africa. A stronger engagement of the EU towards Tunisia and Libya was also planned. The EU wanted to reward third countries that seek joint migration management with the EU and punish those who refuse to do so. In the longer term, traditional development cooperation should be fundamentally reconsidered.

    From mid-2016, the EU concluded the planned “migration partnerships” with Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Ethiopia. Some projects that had received funding from the EU's Africa Fund were already underfunded in autumn 2017. That is why Juncker had to request more money from the EU states, for example for border security in Libya.

    At the end of August 2017, France, Germany and Italy agreed to cooperate with the governments in Niger, Chad and Libya. The UNHCR Commissioner for Human Rights Seid al-Hussein and various aid organizations criticized that the decisions would only shift the need from the Mediterranean to the mainland, where people willing to flee are killed or inhumanly treated. The EU actively supports these criminal structures.

    As part of the so-called “Better Migration Management”, the EU is working with ten East African states in the Khartoum process , including dictatorships such as Eritrea and Sudan. The aim is to train and equip border officials so that they can better contain refugees across their borders. The EU does not officially provide any money to the Sudan's government, but to various independent organizations to finance projects in Sudan, including the training programs. In addition to the police, the regime uses a militia called “Rapid Support Forces” (RSF) against people smugglers who smuggle people from the south through Sudan into Libya. The RSF recruited from the notorious Janjaweed -Reitermilizen and are suspected to be involved in human smuggling and committing various human rights violations. According to the New York Times (April 2018), the EU spent 106 million euros on Sudan, according to The Guardian , 183 million euros up to April 2018.

    The wealthy Arab states of Saudi Arabia , Qatar , United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have not yet accepted any Syrian refugees, although most Syrians are Sunni Muslims and thus co-religionists and although these states have contributed to the destabilization of Syria. These states have not signed the CSF. A total of around 500,000 Syrians live in Saudi Arabia, but it is unclear when and how they got there. Syrians need visas to enter Saudi Arabia. These are only granted in individual cases. Saudi Arabia has agreed to build 200 mosques for the Syria refugees in Germany. According to its own information, the United Arab Emirates have accepted around 100,000 as "emigrants" since 2011. This information contradicts the assessment of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Brookings Institution.

    After months of negotiations, military representatives from Turkey and the USA agreed on the concrete implementation of a "security zone". In the late summer of 2019 Erdogan spoke of a "new migration threat" from the last Syrian rebel stronghold, Idlib, along the Turkish border. Turkey cannot shoulder this threat alone. The EU has not yet fully kept its promise of financial aid. Erdogan threatened to open the borders to Europe for Syrian refugees if the EU did not finally honor its financial commitments.

    Measures by European states


    As early as 2011, Greece did not comply with the EU's humanitarian standards for refugee camps, so that the ECHR repeatedly banned the transfer of asylum seekers there. They would have been imprisoned there for an indefinite period in improvised, neglected and overcrowded assembly camps without enough sanitary facilities and tents. The ECJ confirmed the bans. Despite receiving 45 million euros from the EU's external border fund and reforming the right to asylum (2013), Greece was still unable to guarantee humane accommodation for asylum seekers in particular. According to the Advisory Council of German Foundations for Integration and Migration (SVR), the reception capacities remained insufficient despite hotspots set up by the EU .

    As of 2015, most of the refugees came to the EU via Greece. In August 2015, several hundred refugees, mostly Syrians, arrived on islands like Kos and Lesbos every day. From August 28 to 31, 2015, the Greek coast guard rescued 2,500 people from distress in 70 missions. In September 2015, around 11,000 people were waiting on Lesbos to be brought to the mainland by ferry.

    The Greek government allowed most of the newcomers to travel unregistered from August 2015, but did not provide any information on their whereabouts. The Greek suspension of the Dublin procedure brought Hungary into the role of the first admission state, which is why it met with sharp criticism and prompted the construction of a border fence. On September 25, 2015, EU Commission President Juncker warned: “Above all, Greece must ensure that sufficient staff are made available for asylum applications and initial reception, an effective deportation system is set up, EU funds are better used and reception conditions are improved in view of the growing migration flows . "

    Because the Greek authorities only fingerprinted around 121,000 of the 500,000 new arrivals between July and November 2015, the EU Commission initiated proceedings against Greece at the end of 2015. After an EU investigation group found “serious weaknesses” in Greece's control of the EU's external borders, the EU Commission declared the border closings of other EU states to be lawful on January 26, 2016. She examined whether to allow internal border controls in the EU for up to two years.

    According to the UN, in February 2016 around 2000 refugees and migrants sailed from Turkey to Greece every day. By the end of February, five centers for the reception, identification and processing of asylum seekers should be operational on the Greek islands. These “hotspots” are formally operated by the initial reception service of the Greek Ministry for Migration Policy. Two redistribution centers near Athens and one near Thessaloniki should also be ready by the end of February.

    Because of the sealed off Balkan route, around 20,000 people congested in Greece at the end of February 2016. More came from Turkey every day. Five more reception centers near the border were planned. Many refugees were initially to be accommodated on three large ferries in the ports of Lesbos, Chios and Samos. For families and unaccompanied children, who at that time made up 60% of the refugees, UN organizations set up 20 contact points with sleeping places. In mid-March 2016, the Greek government estimated the number of asylum seekers in the country at around 48,000. Where they should go remained open, as the EU-Turkey agreement of March 18, 2016 only affected asylum seekers from then on, the Balkan route was closed and an unregulated escape over the snow-covered Balkan mountains was also impossible for many.

    On April 1, 2016, the Greek Parliament passed a law to implement the EU-Turkey Agreement and thus the deportation of refugees from Greece to Turkey. The Greek appeals body, which is made up of judges and representatives of human rights organizations, rejected 70 out of 72 returns of Syrian asylum seekers to Turkey because they did not classify them as a safe third country. The EU wanted to replace these objection bodies with a regular authority that implements the law on the EU-Turkey Agreement.

    The reception camp near Idomeni on the border with North Macedonia took in up to 14,000 people in mid-March 2016. In the hope that the border would open soon, many refugees refused to leave the camp and move inland despite the catastrophic living conditions. On May 24, 2016, the Greek authorities cleared the camp. Two days later, around 1,000 migrants are said to have been there and 4,000 were in hiding. Further camps with around 3,000 residents were cleared in June. Of the around 50,000 refugees who were in Greece in mid-June 2016, many originally did not want to apply for protection there, but instead wanted to go to Northern Europe.

    In the second week of September 2016, over a thousand (after 50 previously) people from Turkey arrived in Greece. Observers cited a drastic drop in prices for tractor services, the lack of returns and the desire to forestall winter weather as possible reasons.

    After a fire broke out in the refugee camp near Mytilene on Lesbos on September 19, 2016, the regional governor and an aid organization demanded that the overcrowded accommodations be transported to mainland Greece. The EU refused, because it feared withdrawal movements to the rest of Europe. Rented ships should then be used for more accommodation in the short term. The number of newcomers to the Greek islands grew from 90 to 600 in eight days in October 2016.

    From January to November 9, 2016, Greece took in over 61,700 migrants. Around 24,000 of them were considered for resettlement in the EU, which should take place by September 2017. The EU Commission particularly recommended Greece to set up the remaining “resettlement centers”. By March 2017, only 9,610 asylum seekers had been relocated to other EU countries via the EU relocation program. In mid-December 2016, an average of 100 new refugees arrived in Greece every day, according to Frontex. From January to mid-March 2017, a total of around 3,000 came.

    According to the Greek authorities, more than 62,000 refugees were registered in Greece at the beginning of August 2017, most of them living in refugee camps. According to the Greek police, around 11,083 of them returned to their countries of origin between January and August 2017 because they were not granted asylum and saw no legal opportunities to stay in Europe. The IOM supported the return under the protection of the security authorities with 500 to 1500 euros, which were paid out before the return flight. Journalists found in October 2017 that the UNHCR only cared for 44,000 people in Greece. EU circles are aware that Greece is providing false information on the number of migrants in its own country and thus covering up the extent of their prohibited emigration to other EU countries.

    From October to December 2017, the Greek authorities moved around 6,500 refugees from island camps to mainland Greece and Crete . In March and April 2018, around 5,650 refugees came to Greece across the Evros river . The EU Commission did not consider it necessary to include them in the EU-Turkey Agreement. In June 2018, Turkish authorities wanted to suspend the bilateral readmission agreement with Greece. The EU-Turkey agreement is not affected.

    In the course of the Syrian civil war in February and March 2020 , the Turkish government opened the borders for refugees to Greece after breaking the EU-Turkey agreement . The opening of the border led to an increase in the number of refugees on the island of Lesbos as Greece closed its land borders with Turkey and the government announced that the right of asylum would be suspended for March 2020. The increased number of refugees on Lesbos, in turn, led to violence among the locals on the island: journalists, police officers and members of aid organizations who were on Lesbos in the days after the opening of the borders were threatened, insulted and attacked. There was partly a legal vacancy . The UN refugee agency and various human rights activists complained that the Greek suspension of asylum law was a violation of the law. The EU Commission itself did not initially take a position and stated that it wanted to examine the Greek measures. After the suspension expired at the beginning of April 2020, all of the 1,800 people apprehended in March could apply for asylum in Greece. If you voluntarily travel to your home country, a one-time payment of 2000 euros per person is made.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, two refugee camps north of Athens were quarantined in March / April 2020. According to the Greek Ministry of Migration, around 100,000 people had to live in Greek refugee camps in mid-April 2020. Around 39,000 migrants are waiting on the East Aegean Islands to continue their journey to an EU country that is willing to accept them, or at least to continue their journey to mainland Greece. So far, none of the asylum seekers housed in the Greek camps has been diagnosed with the respiratory disease COVID-19 . As a preventive measure, containers were set up as isolation stations . In contrast, of the 470 migrants who are temporarily accommodated in a hotel in the Peloponnese set up as temporary accommodation , 150 tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus . The hotel had already been quarantined the day before after a woman living there tested positive for the novel corona virus.


    In 2015, 2,105 people applied for protection in the Republic of Cyprus ; in 2016, according to Eurostat, 2,840 people. 1,740 people had applied for protection between January and June 2017. Most of the applicants came across the land border from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus .


    Italy is the first destination for refugees coming from North Africa across the Mediterranean. Like Greece, Italy stopped registering migrants in 2015 and allowed them to pass through the country freely. Frontex reported 90,000 illegal border crossings by July 2014, but Italy (by June) only reported around 30,000 asylum applications. In June there was a border blockade by France on the Italian border near Ventimiglia . The camp on the Ponte San Ludovico, which still exists there, became a symbol of the European way of dealing with refugees (“We are not going back”). In August 2015, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni described France and Germany's criticism of the lax practice in Greece and Italy of not accepting asylum applications from migrants as unjustified: in view of the onslaught, this cannot be achieved. According to the UNHCR, 153,842 refugees came to Italy by sea in 2015 as a whole.

    Because Italian authorities had not taken fingerprints from arriving refugees and thus disabled the Dublin procedure, the EU Commission initiated proceedings against the country after a warning at the end of 2015.

    According to a survey in Italy in September 2015, the refugee policy of the European Union was considered to have failed by 90% of Italians: the guaranteed relocation of 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy to the rest of the EU was only successful for 279 people by February 2016. Of the 37,000 asylum seekers who were rejected in 2015, it is assumed that the majority went into hiding or fled to Northern Europe. Only 1,738 people were deported. Three of the six registration centers (“hotspots”) required by the EU for Italy were in operation in February 2016.

    In February 2016, the Austrian government announced that it would close the crossings on the border between Italy and Austria for free travel and thus also for refugees coming from Italy.

    Italian authorities reported a surge in the number of migrants arriving from Libya in March 2016. In Como , a refugee camp was formed in the summer of 2016 from a few hundred people from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Syria who wanted to go to Switzerland or Northern Europe. After Austria and France had largely closed the borders, aid organizations had told people that the Swiss would first have to accept them in Switzerland if they applied for asylum at the border in order to clarify whether they had already applied for asylum in Italy.

    By early September 2016, 118,000 refugees came to Italy. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi stated that Europe “cannot accept everyone.” He again called for a distribution to all EU countries.

    In 2016, a total of 181,000 people came to Italy across the Mediterranean Sea, most of them from Nigeria, followed by Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Gambia. Between the beginning of 2014 and the end of 2016, more than half a million people came to Italy from North Africa by sea. In the total of 800 municipalities in Italy, only 119,000 places were available for admission. The reception capacities of the communities were thus exhausted or already exceeded. Authorities assumed that 175,000 refugees were living in Italian refugee camps at the end of 2016. Due to the ongoing immigration across the Mediterranean , a redistribution of asylum seekers to other European countries was demanded to relieve Italy. In 2015, the member states of the EU, Greece and Italy, promised the relocation of 40,000 asylum seekers to other EU member states. Italy itself was requested by the EU Commission in the Seventh Progress Report on the EU Immediate Measures on Relocation and Resettlement Regulations of 9 November 2016 to implement the regulations agreed with Europol and to carry out the first transfers of unaccompanied refugee minors for the purpose of relocation. As of March 2017, only 3,936 asylum seekers had been relocated from Italy to other European countries through the official EU program.

    By September 2017, around 24,000 asylum seekers who have arrived in Italy since January 2016 should be redistributed within the EU. The corresponding resolutions, in which the 28 member states of the EU had initially committed themselves to reallocating 160,000 people from Italy and Greece within the EU by September 2017, were taken by the European Council on September 9, 2015. From January to March 2017, 24,000 refugees were landed in Italy.

    About 400 asylum seekers tried, similar to the 2015 incident , to cross the border into France near Ventimiglia . Security forces used tear gas and dogs to stop people.

    In June 2017, Italy announced that it would no longer allow ships with rescued people to dock in ports if the distribution of refugees in the EU continued to fail. The EU appealed to Italy not to implement this. Doctors Without Borders spokespersons saw the announcement as a cry for help.

    Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini banned the ships Aquarius and Lifeline from docking in an Italian port in June 2018 . In July 2018, he announced that Italy would also prohibit ships from international missions in the Mediterranean from entering its ports. Possibly he was referring to the EU military operation Operation Sophia and Operation Triton by Frontex.

    Since the summer of 2018, Italy and Malta have refused entry to their ports by private non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Frontex ships with migrants on board.


    Through bilateral agreements with the countries of origin, Spain was able to reduce the number of African boat refugees arriving in the Canary Islands from 30,000 in 2006 to almost zero. In the following years, the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa became increasingly popular destinations for migrants. In Spain, around 13,000 asylum applications were made in 2015, roughly double the number in 2014. The majority of the applicants were Syrians. The number of people who forced access to the EU via Ceuta and Melilla doubled from the first half of 2016 to the same period in 2017 to 3200. In November 2017, an apparently coordinated attempt was made within 48 hours, with around 100 boats from North Africa from the Spanish coast. Almost 50 boats reached their destination and about 600 migrants landed, while another 50 boats were intercepted and sent back to Algeria.

    In February 2018, a press report showed that of around 31,000 people who came to the country in 2017, only a few stayed in Spain and the vast majority moved to other European countries. The main reason the article cited was that after 18 months, Spain would completely stop paying social assistance to such people. Furthermore, there is no child benefit and no social housing. 41% of the asylum applications submitted in 2015 had not yet been processed in February 2018.

    The European Court of Human Rights sentenced Spain in February 2018 for collective deportation of refugees. Two men concerned had complained because they had been picked up by the Spanish Guardia Civil and immediately pushed back across the Spanish-Moroccan border. The ruling is seen as a precedent against the Spanish practice of systematic push-backs in the exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
    More Africans reached Spanish territory in the first half of 2018 than in all of 2017. According to statistics, almost all of the migrants came from the middle class and were disappointed when they arrived. On July 26th, around 1,000 young Africans tried to climb over the border fences of the Spanish exclave of Ceuta . They attacked incoming border guards; about 600 Africans arrived on Spanish territory. It was the biggest rush in years. About 115 Africans came to Ceuta in August 2018; Among other things, they threw caustic quicklime at border guards. A few days later, Spain deported 116 migrants. The deputy prime minister of the Sánchez government said that a signal should be sent against the violent manner in which they had gained entry into Spanish territory.


    According to the EU guidelines of 2015, the country was supposed to take in 4,500 people, but agreed to take in up to 10,500 people. At the beginning of 2017, of the approximately 1,000 people already living in the country, around 200 traveled on to economically stronger EU countries or to those in which they have relatives. Rui Marquez, a Portuguese refugee worker, complains that such people are being supported in Germany while their asylum applications are in progress in Portugal. As of May 2017, 555 of the 1306 people originally assigned in 2015 had left Portugal again. Of the rest, 40 percent did a job or took part in qualification measures.


    Albania's land border with Montenegro and Serbia or Kosovo is 287 kilometers long, that with Greece 282 kilometers and that with North Macedonia 151 kilometers. After the actual closure of the Balkan route, the Albanian government stepped up the guarding of the border with Greece. Greek authorities have set up tented villages on the Albanian border and brought 1,500 refugees from Idomeni there.

    North Macedonia

    Refugees on the Greek-North Macedonian border near Gevgelija (August 24, 2015)

    North Macedonia , not an EU country, allowed refugees from June 2015 to cross the country with a 3-day visa without controls by train, car or on foot, thus saving considerable dangers and costs. On August 20, 2015, the government declared a state of emergency because of the rush and deployed the military at the borders. In early September, 7,000 people crossed the Greek-Macedonian border every day. Police were used against refugees. At the end of November, North Macedonia began building a fence on the border with Greece and only allowed Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis into the country. At the beginning of December 2015, around 2,000 people were stuck at the border crossing near Idomeni .

    From February 18, 2016, North Macedonia built another border fence near Gevgelija to reinforce the first one. As of February 22nd, as before Serbia, it no longer allowed Afghans to enter, from March only Syrians and Iraqis with complete personal documents. On the Greek side, more than 10,000 refugees were waiting for opportunities to continue their journey. Up until March 9, North Macedonia limited entries to Idomeni to a maximum of 250 Syrians and Iraqis daily. From March 8, 2016, it only allowed people with valid passports and visas to enter the country.

    On March 11, 2016, North Macedonia's President Ivanov again criticized the EU and Germany: Without their support, his country would secure the EU from illegal entry from the EU state Greece. 9,000 forged travel documents have been seized. However, the German government continued to decline data exchange and technical support. The EU Commission rejected the allegations and referred to almost 900 million euros in aid for North Macedonia since 2007.

    On March 14, several hundred migrants, along with around 30 photojournalists and human rights activists from Idomeni, crossed the Malareva border river to North Macedonia. Macedonian police arrested her there. Journalists reported that activists and not refugees organized the breakthrough attempt and instigated it with leaflets. The migrants were sent back the following day. On April 13, the Macedonian police used tear gas to prevent several dozen refugees from crossing the border near Idomeini. According to North Macedonia's foreign minister, around 25,000 people were camped there in mid-May and were hoping for the border to be opened. 150 to 300 of them tried to cross the border every day.


    Around 5,300 asylum applications were granted in 2015 and there were no integration programs. Refugees were housed in old barracks, some without electricity or windows. The Bulgarian population largely rejects refugees. There were demonstrations, hate campaigns on the internet and acts of violence against them. Bulgarian sociologists explain this from the decades of isolation in the Eastern bloc , relative poverty and the traditional hostility towards Roma, Turks and Muslims, which is transferred to refugees. Bulgaria is therefore considered particularly hostile to refugees in social networks. In 2015, in an Arab “refugee handbook” distributed online, it was ranked number 1 among the countries that asylum seekers should avoid.

    In 2014, Bulgaria's border fortifications were expanded and the construction of a fence on the border section with Turkey (i.e. the external border of the EU) began. The fence should cover the entire 270 kilometers of this border section by the end of 2016. Frontex registered 7,000 illegal border crossings there and 40,000 on the Bulgarian-Serbian border in 2015. In 2015 and 2016, Bulgaria represented a kind of bypass through which a large number of refugees in Serbia integrated into the already formalized corridor. In March 2016, Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov emphasized that the expansion of the Bulgarian border protection systems, including with thermal imaging cameras, and border protection exercises by the army and police were known to the refugees and had successfully reduced border crossings. As a result of the closure of the Western Balkans route, he announced that if there was a renewed increase in illegal border crossings and journeys, troops would be increased at the Greek border and a fence would be built there as well.

    Former Bulgarian soldiers and police officers founded four militias from 2015 as “Voluntary Border Patrols to Protect Europe's Southern Border and the Fatherland”: the “Organization for the Protection of Bulgarian Citizens” (OPBC), the “National Bulgarian Resistance”, the “Citizens' Squadron for the Protection of Women and Faith ”and the Veteran Military Union Vassil Levski (VLMU) with 26,000 members, including 800 armed patrollers. They are united by their hostility to refugees, Turks, Roma and Muslims, together 13% of the Bulgarian population. They regard up to 30% of all refugees in Europe as terrorists and attacks by Islamists as a war to destroy Europe with the help of bought media and European governments, guided by US capital and alleged Jewish financiers. At the initiative of the German right-wing extremist Tatjana Festerling , these militias united with other right-wing extremist groups in Europe to form the alliance "Fortress Europe". They expect attacks by refugees and a civil war, prepare for it with compressed air weapons and cross-country games, patrol unfenced border sections at night, ask refugees with Arabic posters to turn back and hand them over to the Bulgarian police, handcuffed. According to NGO counts, at least seven refugees had died under unexplained circumstances on the Bulgarian border by then. Nevertheless, the government, border police and a majority of Bulgarians approve of these militias and work with them. The OPBC leader was only placed under house arrest following a video showing him mistreating Afghan refugees, but was released on bail.

    After the attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016, according to Borissov, 150 to 200 refugees were arrested every day at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. According to Bulgarian information, 10,914 people were in custody at that time because their identity was unclear or they could otherwise evade their deportation. 400 people were in "asylum detention" to "protect national security or public order". According to NGOs, they were systematically detained, sometimes for months, depending on their nationality. According to information uncovered by the EU Commission, minors were inadequately cared for. Bulgaria is working with the Turkish government, which is already holding refugees on their side of the border fence. According to Bulgarian data, the number of refugees in Bulgaria had fallen to 2,200 by November 2017. In 2018, 4,662 people attempted to cross the Bulgarian-Greek border irregularly and 5,311 people tried to cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

    According to reports from hundreds of witnesses, Bulgarian police officers and border guards carried out extortion, robbery, assault, threats, attacks with police dogs and shooting at refugees between July and November 2015 in order to force them back to Turkey. One refugee is said to have been shot and several injured. Aid organizations such as Oxfam and the Belgrade Center for Human Rights called on Bulgarian authorities to investigate the allegations and ensure compliance with international legal standards for refugees. The EU must take effective measures to achieve this. By the end of November 2016, ten refugee deaths were known in Bulgaria, including one death from frostbite. Three other refugees froze to death in early 2017 while trying to get to Europe over the snow-covered Strandscha Mountains. In the border area there were and still are deaths.


    Since August 2015, the EU accession candidate Serbia has been bringing incoming refugees together with the UNHCR to the reception camp near Preševo and looking after them there. Registered cross-border commuters could apply for asylum anywhere in the country within three days and move freely for as long. They were advised, however, not to use smugglers but rather private buses or taxis. The authorities no longer checked whether they left the country. A large transit camp, supervised by volunteers, was built at Belgrade Central Station . The situation at border crossings to Hungary was chaotic around September 2, 2015.

    As of February 27, 2016, Serbia only allowed 500 refugees to pass through each day. Government members assured that as long as Germany and Austria left their borders open, no country on the Balkan route would close them. The EU states would have to say whether the neighboring states should allow or prevent the refugee transit as smoothly as possible. As of July 2016, Serbia announced stricter border controls in the south: They do not want to become a parking lot for Afghan and Pakistani refugees. At that time, these accounted for around 85% of the 2,660 refugees in the country. Furthermore, they want to deport people without asylum rights in Serbia from the country.

    According to the UNHCR, a backlog of around 7,000 refugees who wanted to enter the EU had formed in Serbia by the end of December 2016. Almost 6,000 of them are housed in reception centers. At the beginning of November 2017, 4,000 refugees were living in official camps in Serbia, almost a thousand in the open air. According to the Serbian “Center for the Protection of Asylum Seekers” (CZA), 20 people came to Serbia from the south every day. Only two asylum applications were approved in 2017. The lack of integration of the refugees is not only due to insufficient funds, but also to a lack of political will.


    Before the EU-Turkey summit, President Klaus Johannis affirmed aid to Turkey, but rejected an obligation on the part of the EU states to accept refugees. Their “resettlement” with the prospect of asylum may only take place “on a voluntary basis”.

    Romanian border guards arrested 505 people in the first half of 2016 and 2,474 people in 2017 after illegally crossing the border. In August 2017, 480 refugees came to Romania from Turkey across the Black Sea. In the same month, Romanian border guards near Vršac shot at vehicles that broke through a police cordon and injured two refugees.


    After the Serbian-Hungarian border was closed, Croatia became an alternative escape route to Central and Northern Europe. The Prime Minister initially wanted to facilitate transit through his country. However, after the arrival of around 11,000 refugees on September 17, the Croatian government closed its border with Serbia and announced that it would use Croatian armed forces for border protection if necessary . At the same time, the authorities wanted to transport refugees through Croatia to Slovenia or Hungary. Hungary began building a border fence with Croatia and arrested the first people arriving from there. Croatia then transported refugees to Slovenia without registration.


    A column of refugees in Slovenia, accompanied by the military and police, October 22, 2015

    Slovenia became an intermediate destination for the refugee movement on the way to Germany in mid-October 2015 after Hungary closed the border fence with Croatia. Croatia began to smuggle the refugees through its territory to Slovenia uncontrolled and without registration, until the authorities there restricted access to their national territory to 2,500 people a day. These people are recorded and just as many are forwarded to Austria. After the introduction of the measure, there was a backlog of refugees on the Croatian-Slovenian border on October 19.

    In view of the people persevering in the cold and rain, the Slovenian government revised its decision after a few hours and let everyone who had been waiting on the Croatian side into the country on October 19. On October 22, the Slovenian government reported that 12,600 refugees had arrived in Slovenia from Croatia the day before; the next day there were 14,000, on October 26, 2015 again 15,000.

    In the reception camp on the border near Brežice, in the presence of the Slovenian police and fire brigade, refugees set fire to their tent accommodation in order to cross Slovenia on their own and move on from there to Austria. At the end of October, Slovenia's head of government Cerar announced a complaint to the EU Commission about Croatia, which - despite the Slovenian reference to exhausted capacities - is constantly transporting more groups of refugees to the border with Slovenia.

    In November 2015, the Slovenian government started building a border fence with Croatia .

    Between October 16 (when Hungary sealed off the border with Croatia) and December 29, 2015, a total of 371,692 refugees came from Croatia to Slovenia; so on average about 5,000 daily. From January 1st to 25th, 2016, more than 45,000 migrants traveled on to Western Europe via Slovenia. On February 26, 2016, Slovenia announced that it would only allow 580 refugees into the country every day. After the actual closure of the Balkan route, the number of initial applications in Slovenia has increased. In February 2017, the legal framework was created to be able to turn away refugees directly at the border and without an individual review of their right to protection. Exceptions should only be possible for children and the sick. Experts fear a violation of human rights.


    Refugees in Hungary on their way to Austria (September 4, 2015)
    Refugees at Budapest Keleti pályaudvar (September 4, 2015)

    In June 2015, the Hungarian government ( Orbán III cabinet ) announced that 57,000 people had crossed the borders into Hungary and announced the construction of a border fence to protect Hungary 's external EU border (151 km long border with Serbia). At the end of June, Hungary unilaterally terminated the Dublin III regulation , but withdrew it after protests from the EU. The number of converts in Hungary quadrupled compared to the previous year.

    On August 26, 2015, Hungary announced that it could no longer take care of the thousands of refugees it apprehends every day. At the beginning of September 2015, there were mass outbreaks from asylum camps and tumults because refugees did not want to be registered in Hungary in order not to be sent back there. At the end of August 2015, refugees at Budapest Keleti pályaudvar were initially given the opportunity to use regular long-distance trains to Munich or Passau for a few days. After that, only the passage to Sopron was possible by local train, eight kilometers from Klingenbach on the Austrian border and 70 kilometers from Vienna. Hungary's head of state Viktor Orbán called the refugee crisis “not a European, but a German problem”. Hungary just adheres to European rules and does what German Chancellor Merkel expects. No refugee is allowed to leave the country without having been registered beforehand. However, the migrants did not want to stay in countries like Hungary, Poland or Estonia. “Everyone would like to go to Germany.” By September 5, Orbán and the Chancellors of Germany and Austria agreed to allow the refugees in Hungary to enter Austria and Germany.

    From September 14, 2015, crossing the border without a visa in Hungary was no longer considered an administrative offense, but a criminal offense. Hungary and the UN described Serbia as a safe country of origin despite the lack of an asylum system according to the UN . A border fence with Croatia was built by October 17th. Hungary announced that it would set up two transit zones for asylum seekers. Around three quarters of Hungarians approved Orban's refugee policy in November 2015. On February 20, 2016, Hungarian Interior Minister Sándor Pintér announced that Hungary's three railway crossings to Croatia would be closed for 30 days.

    Border fence between Hungary and Serbia, July 21, 2015

    Following the closure of the Western Balkans route in February 2016, the Hungarian government declared a state of crisis nationwide on March 9, 2016, as it did in September 2015 , thereby giving the police more rights to carry out closer identity checks. Hungary also prepared to seal off the border with Romania. From July 5, 2016, the Hungarian police brought refugees who were arrested after illegally crossing the border in an area up to eight kilometers wide behind the border into transit zones at the border crossings to Serbia or Croatia.

    In September 2016, Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called for Hungary to be excluded from the EU because of its “inhumane” refugee policy. A Hungarian referendum on EU refugee quotas on October 2nd was invalid because less than the necessary 50% of Hungarians eligible to vote voted. 98.3% of the valid votes were against EU admission quotas.

    On March 7, 2017, the Hungarian parliament voted with a large majority (138: 6) for the internment of refugees in transit zones. The right-wing extremist Jobbik party supported the submission by the ruling party Fidesz . From then on, all asylum seekers except children under the age of 14 were to be housed in container settlements secured with barbed wire until their asylum procedure was concluded near the border with Serbia, which they can only leave early in the direction of Serbia. The Hungarian government justified its action with an allegedly threatened wave of refugees, fear of terrorism and the onward journey of most asylum seekers to other countries. The UNHCR criticized the internment as a clear breach of EU and international law. The regulation came into force on March 28, 2017.

    Hungary was the first EU country to set up internment camps for refugees. The ECtHR issued an injunction against this and sent a list of questions to the Hungarian government to clarify the legality of the internment. In April 2017, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees demanded that refugees should no longer be sent back to Hungary due to the illegality of the internment and that returns to Hungary should be suspended in accordance with the Dublin Agreement.

    Orbán's government rejected an EU distribution quota for refugees at the end of 2017: The project is not realistically feasible. and contradict the unanimity principle of the Dublin Convention. She explains the influx of refugees not with the push factors in the countries of origin, but with the conspiracy theory that international elites and especially the American billionaire George Soros are secretly pursuing the plan to flood Christian Europe with Muslim migrants.


    Migrants at Vienna Westbahnhof before traveling to Germany, September 5, 2015

    In Austria, 37,046 asylum applications were submitted from January to the end of July 2015, more than in the entire previous year. 78.47% of the applicants were male and 21.53% were female. More than 20,000 applications were made by people from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. This is followed by citizens from Kosovo, Pakistan and Somalia. The refusal of individual communities to accept their share of the 80,000 to 160,000 expected refugees complicated the neighborhood situation. In August the federal government appointed Christian Konrad as "refugee coordinator", who should find enough permanent quarters by the onset of winter. In addition, since October 1, 2015, a new law has made it possible for the federal authorities to use existing buildings to accommodate asylum seekers without the municipalities being able to veto it ( Federal Constitutional Law on the Accommodation and Distribution of Aliens in Need of Help and Protection ).

    Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner announced at the beginning of September 2015 that the Dublin Regulation would only be applied in accordance with the principle of proportionality . If an escalation of violence threatens because people instead of seeking asylum in Austria want to move on peacefully without registering, then the Austrian police will not oppose them with violence. On September 5, around 9,000 refugees came from Hungary across the Austrian border and then mostly traveled on towards Germany. In the following days, the ÖBB several times stopped the train service between Hungary and Austria due to overload.

    The pictures from Budapest's Ostbahnhof triggered a wave of solidarity and helpfulness; the refugees arriving at Vienna's Westbahnhof were greeted with applause and given relief supplies. On August 31, 2015, a demonstration for refugees - " Being human in Austria " - mobilized over 20,000 participants. The solidarity concert “ Voices for Refugees ” on October 3rd at Heldenplatz in Vienna had more than 100,000 visitors.

    First admission emergency tent of the Austrian Red Cross at Salzburg Central Station
    First reception tent of the Austrian Red Cross at Salzburg Central Station , September 5, 2015

    A dispute broke out in September between Chancellor Werner Faymann and Viktor Orbán , in which Faymann openly attacked Orbán for allegedly poor treatment of the refugees, which the latter firmly rejected. In an interview, Faymann compared this to the practice of the Nazis during the Holocaust with the words: "Putting refugees on trains believing that they are going somewhere completely different brings back memories of the darkest time on our continent".

    Refugee emergency care at Salzburg Central Station , September 17, 2015

    According to its own statements, the state of Salzburg smuggled between 1000 and 1500 people daily to Bavaria from the beginning of October 2015 . They had reached a "serene routine," said a spokesman for the Municipal Council of the city of Salzburg .

    While the Nickelsdorf crossing in Burgenland was the main focus of events until the border between Hungary and Croatia was closed, from October 17, 2015, entry suddenly shifted to the Styrian border crossings Spielfeld and Bad Radkersburg on the border with Slovenia .

    Rush of refugees in front of the emergency shelter at Saalbrücke / Freilassing border crossing in Salzburg after the station garage has been cleared
    Rush of refugees in front of the emergency accommodation Saalbrücke / Freilassing border crossing in Salzburg after the station garage was cleared , October 24, 2015

    Under the undiminished pressure from new arrivals from Slovenia, Austria's Minister of the Interior, Mikl-Leitner, declared that a “ fortress Europe ” had to be built. According to the Mayor of Salzburg, witnesses have confirmed that Austria has used translators to persuade disabled people to leave for Germany. The people were then escorted from the emergency accommodation in the Salzburg train station garage by the police to the border to Germany. In the course of 2015, the Minister of the Interior saw herself with resignation requests from the SPÖ state organizations Upper Austria and Carinthia, the President of the Vienna State Parliament Harry Kopietz , the Mayor of Traiskirchen, Andreas Babler , the Socialist Youth Austria , the Young Greens , the Association of Socialist Students of Austria and Asylum faced in need . On October 25, 2015, 4,000 people from Austria crossed the German border near Passau alone ; on October 27, 5,500 people entered Bavaria. The Bavarian state government complained that with this procedure Austria was not complying with the guideline agreed with Germany to allow a maximum of 50 people per hour and border crossing to enter Germany. The Austrian police replied that this upper limit had been defined unilaterally and had never been confirmed by the Austrian side. The Minister of the Interior ultimately attributed responsibility for the tense situation to the German government.

    The number of asylum applications filed in Austria in 2015 increased considerably in October and reached around 63,000 by the end of the month. A stricter asylum law has made family reunification more difficult since mid-November. Those who do not receive asylum, but only receive subsidiary protection , are only allowed to bring relatives to Austria after three years, if the applicant's accommodation and income are demonstrably adequate for the expected number of people.

    Refugee group in Salzburg shortly before the regulated transition to Germany
    Refugee group in Salzburg shortly before the regulated transition to Germany , December 10, 2015

    The number of unaccompanied minors who applied for asylum in Austria in 2015 had reached 6,175 by the end of October. 65 percent of the applicants come from Afghanistan. By mid-December 2015 there were around 85,000 asylum applications in Austria. According to the authorities, around 600,000 people crossed Austria on their way north between September 5 and mid-December. According to the Interior Ministry, between 3,000 and 5,000 refugees would use the country as a transit country every day in December.

    On December 7, 2015, soldiers from Engineer Battalion 2 of the 6th Jäger Brigade began to build a border fence near Spielfeld. The 2.5 m high fortification should extend 3.7 kilometers along the Slovenian border by Christmas. The fence is part of a new border management system that has been in trial operation since January 2016. Personal checks and registration take place in a “transit zone” by the armed forces and the police, which cannot be bypassed in the immediate vicinity due to the spatial limitations. The fence was described as a “special structural measure” and, as a euphemism for the taboo word border fence, was named Unword of the Year by the Research Center for Austrian German . It is "a classic case of Austrian political language that lacks clarity and unambiguity and confuses the population through deliberately chosen ambiguity." Furthermore, "I am not a racist, but ..." was awarded as Unpredict of the year, because its use is "very often derogatory." , negative or racist opinions about asylum seekers, immigrants, foreigners ”.

    Border fence on the Platschberg with an open gate

    On December 29, 2015, it was announced that in the previous days, around 20 refugees had been sent back to Austria from Italy near Tarvisio and hundreds from Austria to Slovenia, as it turned out in conversation that they were not from a war zone in Syria as stated can originate. However, Slovenian authorities later stated that Austria also allowed many of the asylum seekers who had previously given a false identity to enter after their actual identity had been established. On January 17, 2016, Chancellor Faymann announced that he would further expand border controls and reject all refugees who did not want to apply for asylum in Austria, had no right to asylum or who were already clear that they would be rejected by the German authorities at the Austrian-German border would. The Schengen rules are temporarily suspended.

    At an “asylum summit” by the federal and state governments on January 20, 2016, reference values ​​were decided according to which only 37,500 new asylum applications (including family reunification) should be accepted in 2016. Criticism from various quarters mainly focuses on the fact that Austria would have to violate international law in order to comply with the limit. Interior Minister Mikl-Leitner, on the other hand, referred to “ Ultra posse nemo obligatur ” - nobody could be obliged to do the impossible. ÖVP club chairman Reinhold Lopatka specified that reference was made to the current Dublin Regulation and Article 72 of the TFEU , according to which the EU provisions on the movement of people and asylum can be deviated from if internal security is threatened.

    "Outlet tent" Saalbrücke, Salzburg , on the border with Freilassing , for an orderly handover. With children's drawings and letters of thanks from refugees, November 11, 2015

    In January 2016, around 7,000 people applied for asylum in Austria. Austria's new defense minister, Hans Peter Doskozil , said on February 5, 2016 that the Austrian military could be deployed in a "mixed military-civilian mission in the Balkans" during the refugee crisis. Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said on the same day that there is a strong willingness in North Macedonia and other Balkan states to “reduce, curb or perhaps even stop the influx.” In January Austria asked the EU to return the funds that covered the additional expenditure of refugee care incurred in 2015. At 11,000 euros per refugee and 55,000 people over capacity, Finance Minister Schelling asked for around 600 million euros on January 25, 2016.

    At the beginning of February it became known that although Austrian authorities recorded the data and fingerprints of all asylum seekers who crossed the national borders, they then immediately deleted the data records of those people who stated that they wanted to apply for asylum in Germany. Austria does not transfer these data sets to the European fingerprint index. Observers suspect that - should the verbal agreement between Faymann and Merkel about the suspension of the Dublin Agreement prove null and void - this should cover up the fact that the people originally came to Germany from safe Austria.

    On February 17, the Minister of the Interior announced that from February 19, they only wanted to accept up to 80 asylum applications per day at the southern border. However, up to 3,200 people per day should be allowed to cross this border for the purpose of transit, provided they indicate that they want to apply for asylum in another country. If one of these two limit values ​​is reached, entry is temporarily stopped. The number of asylum applications at the time this upper limit was announced was over 200 per day. Slovenia then announced that it would also limit the number of refugees while staying within the quotas set by Austria. Austria agreed with North Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia that the refugees at the Macedonian border town of Gevgelija would be identified. Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis are then brought to Germany by rail. All other refugees are to be turned away at the Greek-Macedonian border.

    The Heeres-Nachrichtenamt (HNA), the foreign secret service of the Republic of Austria, presented the Federal Government with a “Strategic Situation Outlook 2016” in February 2016. According to this paper, the dimension of 2015 “could definitely be exceeded”. The experts fear that without changes to the EU's external borders, Austria could become a “waiting zone” for 500,000 refugees. The role of Turkey in preventing “migration flows” is classified as “by no means cooperative” in the analysis, and Libya is only able to act to a limited extent due to the disintegration of its state.

    On March 2, 2016, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz described the opening of the border in September 2015 and the associated “waving through” of refugees and migrants from Greece to Central Europe as a “serious mistake”. He referred to the accommodation of 100,000 refugees by Austria without international help and the apparently poor supply of "only" 25,000 people in Greece and called for more pressure to be put on the country to improve the supply.

    On April 27, 2016, parliament passed a controversial amendment to the law that allows the government to respond to the influx of refugees with an emergency ordinance . According to the regulation, refugees are no longer allowed to submit asylum applications at the border; they will be rejected immediately.

    At the end of May 2016, the police presence at the Brenner Pass was increased by additional officers, after increasing reports of groups of refugees gaining access to Austria from Italy. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi rejected these reports.

    In August, the Austrian ministries compiled a wide variety of data on the legal safeguarding of the Asylum Emergency Ordinance , which is intended to allow the borders to be closed for new asylum seekers when an upper limit is reached. In addition to the collapse of the classic basic care systems when capacity limits were exceeded, attention was drawn to crime statistics and, in particular, to the limits of adequate care for children. The number of children who were unable to follow lessons due to a lack of language skills increased by 30 percent to 46,000 in 2015 due to refugee children.

    In the 2016 balance sheet, 42,073 asylum applications were recorded in Austria. Of these, 36,030 were approved for a procedure in Austria, and according to the Ministry of the Interior, the upper limit of 37,500 was not reached. 11,812 people who had illegally crossed the borders were apprehended in Tyrol in 2016 . The largest groups came from Nigeria, Morocco and Afghanistan. The majority of the people were men who had come from Italy.

    On March 28, 2017, Chancellor Kern turned to Commission President Juncker to inform Austria of the relocation of refugees from Greece and Italy. Kern pointed out that numerous refugees from these two countries had entered Austria during the planned period and had applied for asylum there, without these figures having been taken into account when allocating refugees via the EU relocation program. Interior Minister Sobotka stated in this context that around 85 people were still arrested every day who had illegally crossed the Austrian border.

    After the National Council election on October 15, 2017 , the Federal Government Kurz I , an ÖVP-FPÖ coalition, was formed. Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) advocates that refugees rescued in the Mediterranean should no longer be returned to Europe, but to safe regions or their countries of origin.


    Of 23,555 asylum seekers in Switzerland in 2014, 29% came from Eritrea, which already has a diaspora in Switzerland. 16% came from Syria and 5% from Sri Lanka. In the first half of 2015, the number of applicants increased significantly. In July 2015, 3,805 people applied for asylum, 70% more than in the same month of the previous year (2,234). In the 2nd quarter of 2015, 3238 (43%) of a total of 7384 people came from Eritrea alone. Refugees from Syria were a minority (390). In October 2015, the president of the cantonal judicial and police directors expected around 30,000 asylum applications for 2015.

    The Federal Council adhered to the current Asylum Act and thus to the Dublin III rules, while the SVP called for the introduction of an emergency law , the Greens in turn a reform of the Dublin Agreement, according to which refugees should be distributed according to the economic strength of the individual states. The reintroduction of the embassy asylum was also called for, but according to the Federal Council, the latter must be done at EU level.

    As in the previous year, the largest group of asylum seekers in Switzerland until September 2015 were Eritreans, of whom around 9,000 had applied for asylum. In October / November 2015, more than a thousand Afghans were arrested within a week, who the Swiss authorities assumed had come to Switzerland from Germany and Austria. Since the registration system in Germany did not work, Swiss authorities feared that it would be difficult to prove that people had traveled from a safe third country.

    In January 2016, it became known that refugees would have to surrender all their assets up to 1,000 Swiss francs to finance their stay. If you leave Switzerland within seven months, you will get your money back.

    On June 5, 2016, the Swiss population voted in favor of an amendment to the Asylum Act so that in future 60% of asylum procedures can be legally decided within 140 days.

    In August 2016 it turned out that Switzerland had increasingly become a transit country for refugees who want to go to Northern Europe. As a result of the otherwise largely closed borders, people coming from Italy would have applied for asylum in Switzerland. For organizational reasons, many of them would be taken from the border into Italy to accommodation centers near the border with Germany. Some of them left there before the Swiss authorities registered them. Around 5,000 people had disappeared from Switzerland since the beginning of the year. In 916 cases, German authorities had submitted readmission applications to Switzerland in the first half of 2016, but only 71 people were returned. In 2016, 27,207 asylum applications were submitted in Switzerland. According to the SEM, 8166 applicants broke off their asylum procedure in Switzerland from January to November 2016 without notifying the authorities. Most of this group of people have probably left Switzerland. In 2016, 48,838 people, mainly from various African countries, were apprehended by Swiss authorities without a valid residence permit. Many of these people tried to reach Germany or Scandinavia without first applying for asylum in Switzerland.

    In 2017, the number of asylum applications fell by a third to 18,088 asylum applications. The most important country of origin was still Eritrea.


    Night operation in the initial reception center Simbach am Inn , October 24, 2015

    From the end of August 2015, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) suspended deportations of Syrians to the country of first entry and processed their asylum applications themselves. According to the then Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, the number of asylum seekers registered in Germany in 2015 was 890,000 instead of the previously assumed number 1.1 million. In addition, there were around 20,000 contingent refugees who were flown in directly from camps in neighboring Syria. It is not known how many people entered Germany illegally in 2015/16 and did not register. Due to a capacity bottleneck at the BAMF, only 476,649 asylum seekers were able to apply for asylum in 2015 and 282,726 asylum applications were decided. At the end of 2015, the BAMF expected that the recognized Syrian refugees would bring an average of one relative per refugee in the context of family reunification - in 2015 around 428,000 Syrians came to Germany.

    The Integration Commissioner of the Federal Government complained on 21 April 2015 that Germany, Sweden and France bore the brunt of the care and housing of refugees, while other European States would do nothing. In August 2015, the Federal Minister of the Interior also complained about Greece and Italy, who released refugees into the Schengen area without accepting their asylum applications .

    Politicians looked for measures to "deport" applicants from "safe countries of origin" with hopeless asylum applications (people who had come from Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania or Montenegro, that is around 46%) "more quickly", and decided to Prior to processing applications from such persons, without departing from the individual assessment.

    At the end of August and beginning of September 2015, differences or misunderstandings arose between the governments of Hungary, Austria and Germany over the application of the Dublin Agreement. Because a guideline of the BAMF became known in Germany that stipulated that refugees from Syria would not be sent back to the countries of arrival in the EU, the rumor spread that Germany would allow everyone to enter. Politicians later contradicted this.

    At the beginning of September 2015, Chancellor Merkel decided, without consulting the German Bundestag , to allow refugees from Hungary to enter Germany without registering and checking their asylum claim.

    In mid-September 2015, the interior ministers of the federal states declared the reception capacities largely exhausted. The temporary, partial reintroduction of border controls and the suspension of the Schengen Agreement were announced on September 13th. The number of refugees who crossed the border into Germany in Bavaria within the month of September, with at least 135,000, exceeded the total of refugees who arrived there in the previous eight months. The federal government changed its position at the end of September and began to suspend the Dublin Agreement with Austria again. With the aim of relieving the burden on the border region, in September 2015 Germany deployed up to eight special trains a day in addition to the transports that Austria already carried out itself to bring refugees from Salzburg, Austria, directly to German initial reception centers . The introduction of border controls did not reduce the number of newcomers, but increased it to up to 10,000 people a day. The people in the special trains were no longer checked.

    In view of the high burdens on the federal states , they called for a timely reduction in the influx of refugees, while federal politicians spoke more about long-term solutions to the crisis, such as eliminating the causes of flight. The threat of the Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer from the beginning of October, if measures are not taken immediately to limit the movement of refugees, if necessary, the federal government will be sued before the Constitutional Court and own security measures have been taken, was criticized by federal politicians of all other parties or not taken seriously. The CSU withdrew its threat of legal action at the beginning of May 2016.

    On September 29, 2015, the Federal Cabinet approved a legislative package with significant changes in asylum law - asylum package I . Most of the changes came into force on October 24, 2015.

    After the relocation of the Balkan route from Hungary to Slovenia, the initial reception facilities in Bavaria had been relocated from Munich to the Passau area, in consultation with Austria, but deliberately without making this public. Hundreds of refugees disappeared from the assigned emergency quarters across Germany in autumn. State authorities had previously no longer been able to carry out the mandatory registration of people when entering Germany.

    At the end of October, the system of distribution began to collapse under the weight of the massive influx of refugees from Austria. A thousand people could no longer be accommodated on October 25th. At times the situation was chaotic. On October 27, 2015, demands were again made by the CSU, from whose ranks it was now demanded to end the “open border policy” with Austria by November 1. A coalition meeting scheduled in this context on November 1st with the aim of preventing uncontrolled entry into the country or the uncontrolled stay of refugees in the country by creating transit zones (proposal of the CDU / CSU) or alternatively by creating entry and registration centers in Preventing all of Germany (SPD proposal) did not provide a solution. Highly awaited resolutions to relieve the municipalities in order to limit the further influx of refugees as quickly and effectively as possible were not passed. The ultimatum passed without consequences for everyone involved.

    Asylum Package II with stricter asylum regulations, which was proposed at the beginning of November 2015 and which was originally scheduled to come into effect at the end of 2015, was initially delayed by disagreements within the governing coalition until an internal coalition agreement was reached at the end of January 2016. The legislative process itself is ongoing.

    At the beginning of November 2015, the government was unable to quantify how many asylum seekers are in initial reception centers or how many have already been distributed to communities across the country.

    The fact that suspects were assigned to the group of refugees and migrants in the sexual assaults on New Year's Eve 2015/16 intensified the debate about limited capacities for reception and integration and the lack of opportunities to effectively deport people from this group from Germany. In addition, this event strengthened the narrative of “non-European” “foreignness” and “ ontological otherness” in relation to the refugees. In connection with the attacks in Paris and Brussels, the idea of ​​a moral crisis was created.

    In her government statement on February 17, 2016, the Chancellor said she would continue to work for a European-Turkish solution to the refugee issue. The aim is to "noticeably and sustainably reduce the number of refugees in order to be able to continue to help those people who really need our protection". This goal is to be achieved by combating the causes of flight, protecting the EU's external borders, especially the border between Greece and Turkey , and an orderly and controlled influx of refugees.

    According to the statements of Austrian politicians, Germany assured Greece that it would maintain the policy of open borders; In contrast, however, the German Interior Minister de Maiziere publicly complained on February 21 that the number of up to 3,200 refugees that Austria wanted to pass on to Germany every day was too high. This German position, in which the refugees would end up stranded in Austria because of an assurance from the German federal government, caused diplomatic resentment. Even until the end of April 2016, the authorities were unable to provide any information on how many refugees are actually in Germany. The Federal Minister of the Interior estimated that a six-digit number of new immigrants were living somewhere in Germany unregistered. At the beginning of June, the BAMF estimated the number of people who had arrived in 2015, but of whom no identification information was yet available, at around 150,000.

    In June 2016, according to an internal report, the federal police were no longer able to effectively combat or document illegal immigration. Due to a lack of staff and the open borders, numerous people were able to enter Germany illegally. A significant proportion of illegal immigration is now said to be coming from the east to Germany, including an undiminished number of Chechens . Even refugees from Switzerland, whose asylum applications were rejected there, often went into hiding there before being deported and, according to the head of the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration, would go to Germany.

    According to the Federal Government, 549,209 legally rejected asylum seekers had been living in the Federal Republic for various reasons as of June 30, 2016, 406,065 of them for more than six years. Around half of the rejected applicants received a permanent right of residence , a third received a temporary right of residence, around 100,000 (a total of 168,212) received a toleration , 37,020 of them because of missing travel documents. Of the legally rejected asylum seekers, 207,484 were required to leave the country (as of the end of 2016), 54,437 of them without toleration. In 2016, 25,375 rejected asylum seekers were sent back to their countries of origin or other European countries.

    From January to the end of July 2017, over 444,000 asylum applications were decided, 107,000 people were newly registered as asylum seekers in Germany, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior.


    In 2015, the French government agreed to accept a total of 24,000 refugees over the next two years. There were long-running disputes with Great Britain because thousands of migrants stranded in the " Jungle of Calais " camp hoped to get to Great Britain through the Eurotunnel. In June 2015, the Italian border near Menton was temporarily closed in the wake of the refugee crisis in Ventimiglia 2015 , the first serious blockade of an internal Schengen border. At the end of August 2015, the then government of Hungary sharply criticized the border fence and favored a problem solution at the external borders of the EU and in the countries of origin. In early September 2015, the government considered using French air forces in Syria against IS. On September 27, the government announced air strikes at Deir Ezzor in Syria. Also because of the relatively high unemployment in France, persistent problems with the integration of Muslim immigrants from former French colonies and the strengthening of the right-wing National Front , France tended to oppose an EU refugee quota.

    As a result of the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015 , French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called on November 25, 2015 to stop allowing as many refugees to enter Western Europe and to better control the EU's external borders. Valls said in an interview on January 22nd, 2016 that Europe cannot accept all refugees from the war zones of Iraq and Syria. This would lead to the destabilization of European societies, as the events on New Year's Eve in Cologne would have shown. When asked whether he blamed Chancellor Merkel for the migration crisis because of her invitation to the refugees, Valls avoided a direct answer. He does not say that it was a mistake, but every message that a politician utters nowadays spreads at lightning speed via social networks to North Africa and the Middle East. The decisive message must now be that not every migrant is welcome in Europe. At the Munich Security Conference on February 13, 2016, Valls rejected Merkel's plan to redistribute refugees to the EU countries according to a quota system . The message that Europe is no longer accepting refugees is important.

    According to Frontex, around 11,000 people who had previously applied for asylum in Italy or had already been recorded for illegally crossing the border were apprehended in France in 2016. The majority of this group of people came to Italy via the Mediterranean. In addition, around 1200 people who had come to France from Spain and Portugal were picked up.

    After a Tunisian who was required to leave the country murdered two young women with a knife in the Marseille-Saint-Charles train station on October 1, 2017 , MP Guillaume Larrivé stated that around 500,000 people were staying illegally in France, more than half of whom were rejected asylum seekers . The Ministry of the Interior keeps the exact numbers of delinquent foreigners without a residence permit secret. France attested that the Tunisian authorities had a "procrastination strategy" with which they let deadlines pass so that European states could hardly push Tunisians back successfully. President Emmanuel Macron announced that he would deport all foreigners in an illegal situation who committed any kind of crime.

    In July 2018, a report by two members of parliament estimated that there were now up to 400,000 illegal immigrants in the Seine-Saint-Denis department in the greater Paris area alone . Every week up to 550 people from Italy come to Paris.


    Belgium agreed in September 2015 to accept 250 refugees from Bavaria from Germany. Belgian government representatives also appeared in a refugee shelter in Bielefeld in September 2015 . From there they are said to have brought 39 refugees to Belgium before they were registered, whose level of education is said to have been consistently high.


    The Netherlands supported the European Union's later failed distribution plans from summer 2015, according to which they should have taken in around 2,000 refugees.

    In the late summer of 2015, a tougher asylum policy was discussed, which would completely exclude rejected asylum seekers from the country's social security systems. Prime Minister Rutte rejected criticism from UN representatives that one could not care for people who simply refused to leave.

    United Kingdom

    In 2015, the UK agreed to accept a total of 20,000 refugees over the next five years. The state was skeptical of immigration by asylum seekers and, for example, did not take part in the rescue operation of the European navies for boat refugees in the Mediterranean, because it was feared that this would only result in even more refugees.

    Over 3000 refugees set up an illegal camp near Calais as a starting point for rarely successful attempts to cross the English Channel on trucks through the Eurotunnel . The British government reacted by expanding the tunnel safety system. In August 2015, then Interior Minister Theresa May complained that the Schengen Agreement, in which Great Britain does not participate, with its borderless traffic within Europe had exacerbated the refugee crisis, and criticized the EU Commission, which did not want to abandon this system.

    Prime Minister David Cameron had initially promised, under internal political pressure from immigration opponents, not to accept more than 1,000 Syrians. A further 5,000 people who had made their way to Great Britain from Syria on their own were granted asylum. In the debate, the government refers critics to their commitment to refugees in Syria's neighboring countries.

    114 refugees from Syria and Lebanon, whose boats were picked up by rescuers off Cyprus in September 2015 and dragged to the British bases Akrotiri and Dekelia there, asked the British Prime Minister to be admitted to the United Kingdom after riots in their camp in early November 2015. However, the UK government wants to keep its areas on the island from being targeted by refugees heading to the UK and has given people the choice of either seeking asylum in Cyprus or being returned to their respective home countries. Several refugees who have been living there in six family groups in abandoned army shelters under inhumane conditions since 1998 are trying to gain legal access to the United Kingdom.

    A UK court upheld a lawsuit brought by human rights lobbyists and suspended the Dublin III agreement, invoking Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights . Refugees with relatives in the UK are now to be allowed to enter from the refugee camp near Calais in France, even though they have not applied for asylum in France.

    The UK Home Office stated in April 2016 that unaccompanied, minor refugees can be deported as soon as they are of legal age and the agency no longer needs protection. According to press reports, 445 people have been deported to crisis areas after reaching the age of majority.

    British critics are particularly critical of Germany's role in the crisis, interpreting public statements by Chancellor Angela Merkel as the suspension of the Dublin Convention and an invitation to flee to Europe. Berlin unilaterally suspended the Dublin and Schengen treaties and turned other member states against it. From a British point of view, which, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, relies on international statistics, many of the people pushing into Europe are not in immediate danger of life and limb, but are leaving safe camps or regions without war or persecution. It is correct to only accept refugees from the camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Supporters of the United Kingdom's exit from the EU promoted their position in the referendum on June 23, 2016 , citing the EU's loss of control over its borders in summer 2015 .

    For 2016, the think tank Overseas Development Institute expects 43,000 asylum applications in the kingdom, which will cost the state around 620 million pounds.

    In February 2017, the government reduced the resettlement program for 3,000 refugee children who had originally been brought to the Kingdom from Europe to just 350 children. Interior Minister Rudd justified the decision by saying that they do not want more children to embark on the dangerous journey to Europe.


    Poland's liberal-conservative coalition government made up of Platforma Obywatelska and Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe initially disagreed on the admission of refugees. There was particular skepticism about accepting Muslims. An exception was the admission of 150 Christian Syrians who came to Poland in the summer of 2015 and were supported by a private Polish aid organization. However, according to information from October 2015, half of them should have left the country on their own initiative and now live in Germany. In autumn 2015, the Polish government promised that it would voluntarily accept 7,000 refugees over the next two years. Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz , like her counterparts from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, was extremely skeptical about a mandatory distribution quota within the EU .

    After the victory of the national-conservative PiS in the parliamentary elections on October 25, 2015 , Poland's new Prime Minister Beata Szydło promised, after making contradicting statements, that she would keep the previous government's promise, but not expand it. Overall, she is in favor of a solution to the refugee crisis outside the EU's borders. According to observers, however, an aspect that was not insignificant for the victory of their party was the attitude that they refused to accept further promises. The refugees who have already been admitted have so far been housed in former barracks. In the winter of 2015, partly on the initiative of the right-wing extremist RN, there were demonstrations in some Polish cities against the admission of refugees from Muslim countries.

    After the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Prime Minister Beata Szydło publicly revoked the promise made in autumn 2015 in an interview with the television channel Superstacja.


    The Robert Fico II government , like those of Poland and Hungary, is resisting mandatory admission quotas for asylum seekers. In 2015, only 169 people applied for asylum in Slovakia, another 149 Syrian Christians were flown in directly from a refugee camp in Iraq for humanitarian reasons. In December 2015, the Slovak government sued the European Union's plan to distribute refugees who had already arrived in the EU to the member states according to a fixed key. Prime Minister Robert Fico used the sexual assaults on New Year's Eve 2015/16 in Germany as an opportunity to announce not to want to accept any more Muslim refugees. Fico emphasized at the end of February 2016 that for his country every refugee who reaches Slovakia via Austria or Hungary is an illegal migrant. The government was a one-party government from April 2012 until the parliamentary elections in Slovakia in 2016 . In the election, Fico's party Smer received 28.3% (after 44.4% in the previous election); Fico formed a four-party coalition government, the Robert Fico III government .

    Czech Republic

    The Bohuslav Sobotka government rejects mandatory reception quotas for asylum seekers. In 2015, however, they agreed to accept 150 Iraqis of Christian faith. However, after 25 people from this group left the Czech Republic for Germany in March 2016 to apply for asylum there, the government stopped the project. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec announced that the refugees who wanted to leave had abused the goodwill of the Czech state and were to be returned to Iraq. One does not want to participate in the "travel service" for migrants. Initially, the people were not to be returned to the Czech Republic, but later it became known that only five of them were to stay in Germany because a relative had already been granted asylum there. The remaining 20 refugees were to be brought back from Germany and, like 16 others who later also wanted to go to Germany, were to be placed under police supervision. 17 of them prevented this by first exhausting all legal remedies against the deportation decision in Germany and then, in June 2016, evading deportation by placing themselves under the protection of the church asylum of the Moravian Brethren . The deadline for repatriation to the Czech Republic expired on December 23. The Moravian Missionary Aid managed to keep the people in sanctuary until the deadline. They could then apply for asylum in Germany.


    Denmark, where twice as many people applied for asylum in 2014 as in 2013, was one of the few countries where the number of applications was lower in September 2015 than in September 2014. Denmark has continued to improve its asylum and immigration policy in recent years tightened. Today, Danish legislation on this is considered to be one of the strictest in Europe. The Lars Løkke Rasmussen II government, which was formed after the 2015 folk elections , almost halved the social benefits for refugees and in summer 2015 had advertisements placed in Lebanese newspapers informing them of these tightening. In November 2015, plans were announced not to end the accommodation of refugees in tents, even in winter. In December 2015, the Folketing decided to take cash from refugees down to around 350 euros and use it for their accommodation and supplies. On January 26, 2016, the Danish parliament made it difficult for families to reunite, limited the residence permits and set the deductible at 10,000 kroner (around 1340 euros).

    After Sweden introduced passport controls at the Øresund Bridge on January 4, 2016 , the Danish government announced on the same day that such controls would also be temporarily introduced at the border with Germany. According to the Danish government, however, not all travelers are checked. The controls were initially supposed to last ten days, but the option to extend them was used several times. Most recently, the border controls were extended for a further 30 days on May 2, 2016. In August 2016, the Danish government announced planned tightening, such as faster deportation of rejected asylum seekers and more difficult access to social benefits. Around 4,700 people sought asylum in Denmark in the first seven months of 2016.

    Denmark left the quota system of the UN refugee organization UNHCR at the end of 2017. In the past, they had agreed to take on 500 people a year who had previously been selected by the UNHCR.

    → see also Immigration and Immigration Policy in Denmark since 1945


    For a long time Sweden was the country with the most generous asylum policy and took in far more refugees than any other EU country even before the refugee crisis - relative to a population of only 9.8 million inhabitants. Sweden has less than 2% of the population and less than 2.5% of the EU's economic output adjusted for purchasing power . In 2014, a total of 81,300 refugees were received in Sweden. After recognition, refugees received a permanent residence permit and were able to acquire Swedish citizenship after four years of residence. In Sweden, there was a very generous approach to the procurement of housing, family reunification and financial support for the refugees. At the beginning of autumn, 10,000 refugees were applying for asylum in Sweden every week. Because of the steadily increasing number of refugees and also because of the lack of solidarity from other EU countries, the Swedish government at the time ( government Löfven I , a minority government in power since October 2014) was forced to announce tightening of asylum law at the end of November 2015. By decision of the Swedish parliament in mid-December, the passport controls already carried out by the police and transport companies on the ferries were extended to buses and trains coming from Denmark and Germany. Refugees without documents were refused entry. The plan was now to limit family reunification in time and only allow it if financial self-sufficiency could be proven; in practice this was usually impossible. The sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied minors should be checked and limited by means of medical age tests. In addition, it was planned that recognized refugees would henceforth be granted residence permits limited to three years.

    The right-wing populist party Sverigedemokraterna already received almost 13% of the votes in the election for the Swedish Reichstag in 2014 ; in surveys from August 2015 it reached 23–25%, more than any other Swedish party. The right-wing populists were the only party in Sweden who had campaigned for years to allow far fewer refugees into the country than before. They wanted to use advertisements in Turkish newspapers to prevent refugees from migrating to Sweden from Turkey .

    The forecast for the number of asylum applications submitted in 2015 was lowered from 90,000 to 74,000 in the late summer of 2015, because it was hoped that the processing times, which are long compared to Germany, would deter potential asylum seekers from submitting an application in Sweden. In view of the worsening overall situation, the estimate was changed in October 2015 to up to 190,000 asylum seekers in 2015 and it was announced that not all of them would be able to be accommodated in winter-proof accommodations. The additional costs of the increased number of applicants were put at 7.4 billion euros. When visiting a reception center for refugees at the end of October 2015, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said: “We are at the limit of our reception capacity in Sweden”. More than 35,000 of the 88,300 unaccompanied minor refugees who came to the EU in 2015 went to Sweden. Only 2,847 of them were female.

    At the beginning of November 2015, Löfven stated that capacities were now "overstretched"; Refugees already in Sweden would have to be distributed to other EU countries. A news agency reported a capacity of up to 54,000 people in this context.

    On November 11, 2015, the Löfven government announced that it would be carrying out border controls again from November 12. This measure, which was initially limited to ten days, affected the train and car routes on the Öresund Bridge as well as the ferry connections in southern Sweden.

    Since January 4, 2016, every person who wants to travel to Sweden from Denmark has to prove their identity. On January 7, Sweden extended this rule until February 8, 2016.

    On January 28, 2016, the Swedish Interior Minister announced that 80,000 asylum seekers - half of those admitted in 2015 - would be deported. In June 2016, the government tightened the rules for family reunification and restricted the issuing of permanent residence permits for refugees under the age of 25 to those who had completed school education and who did not need any state support.


    At almost the same time as the other Scandinavian countries, Finland introduced increased passport and visa controls at the turn of the year 2015/2016. It made the submission of valid personal documents a prerequisite for using the ferries that connect Germany and Finland. Around 32,000 applicants were registered there during 2015. At the end of January 2016, the government announced that it would deport around 20,000 asylum seekers who had been rejected in Finland. In the first two months of 2016, around 800 refugees from Russia crossed the border at Salla into Finland. In March 2016, the governments of Finland and Russia agreed that only those who were citizens of one of the two countries would be allowed to cross the border .


    Norway is not a member of the EU, but is a member of the Schengen Agreement and the Nordic Passport Union . At the beginning of October, the Norwegian government forecast up to 25,000 asylum seekers in 2015. Previously, the estimate for 2015 had to be increased twice.

    In mid-October 2015 it was announced that it would no longer accept Syrian refugees who tried to enter from Russia via the northern border. They would not flee from war, hunger and poverty and they do not need Norway's protection. The number of people who entered the country increased from 12 (2014) to 1200 (by early October 2015). As a result, around 500 refugees accumulated on the Russian side of the border at the end of October. Some petitioned Russian President Putin for his support.

    According to the Solberg government, the right to asylum should initially be limited to five years. When the situation in the countries of origin has improved, the asylum seekers have to return. This also includes family members.

    Based on the success of the Danish deterrent offensive, with the aim of reducing the number of asylum seekers, the Norwegian government also launched a package of measures in autumn 2015 to deter asylum seekers on the internet and in print media. For example, Afghans who tried to enter the country via Russia were specifically addressed and threatened with deportation to Kabul. Potential applicants should also be deterred with information about a reduction in salaries. On November 26, 2015, the government announced that it would from now on have more control at the national borders and only allow refugees with valid papers to enter. The ferry companies will be instructed to only let people on board the ferries who can present the necessary entry documents.

    People without an identity document now have to leave Norway within 48 hours. The government declared Russia a safe third country and began deporting people who had entered from there in December 2015 following an asylum procedure.

    Baltic states

    Of a total of 63 Syrian and Iraqi refugees who were housed in Latvia , 34 fled to Germany in 2016, according to media reports. Of the 90 refugees from Syria and Iraq that Lithuania took in, 72 probably disappeared to Germany. According to press research in November 2016, all 77 recorded persons were only present in Estonia . The EU Commission announced that the refugees who leave the EU country to which they were relocated on their own could neither work at the new location nor receive financial support and that they would be brought back.


    The integration of immigrants requires integration-political realism that goes beyond multiculturalism and cultural pessimism. Conflicts, which are inherent in most integration processes, should therefore serve as a challenge to ensure and review the framework of standards. In migration research, a distinction is made between social integration, structural integration, cultural integration and identificatory integration ( see: Four dimensions of integration ).

    Social integration is about integration into the social context, especially in education and on the labor market. The acquisition of knowledge, competences and skills through integration into the labor market is a necessary prerequisite for this; contacts and relationships with members of the host society are very beneficial, while the restriction to one's own ethnic-social group and the emergence of ethnic colonies are a considerable disadvantage. Below-average contact with networks in the host society has a negative effect on educational success and when looking for an apprenticeship or job. Language barriers are considered to be the main cause of the delay in integration. Literacy also plays a role. Around 15 percent of the refugees - mostly women - cannot read or write. In addition, learning the norms and values ​​of the host society is important for integration. In the area of social integration , sport and family reunification are often described as beneficial for integration.

    Structural integration is achieved when integration indicators such as the distribution of educational qualifications, unemployment and transfer performance rates etc. are similar in the group of immigrants to those in the population as a whole. The integration of refugees is closely linked to participation in the labor market. Studies have shown that refugees face significant barriers to accessing employment. You may be subject to a temporary work ban during the asylum procedure; later belong to the most vulnerable groups among non-EU citizens in the labor market. Experience with refugees shows that the employment rate is 15-20 percent lower than that of locals. Women in particular are often unemployed. In Germany, the employment rate of refugees was 27 percent in 2018. According to an older study by the Institute for Employment Research, it takes around five years for the refugee employment rate to reach 50 percent. After 14 years, a high of 75 percent can be expected. Other immigrants reach these quotas about twice as quickly.

    Cultural integration takes place through the acquisition of competences that are necessary for communication and action in the host society. This includes language, norms and values. Diverging values ​​can arise, especially when it comes to the issues of religious tolerance and gender equality. It is reported from the refugee shelters that religious minorities such as Yazidis and Christians are harassed and insulted as infidels by Muslim refugees. In France and Great Britain, failed social and structural integration in combination with diverging values ​​have led to the emergence of Islamic-dominated parallel societies and to a considerable potential for conflict, which has resulted in unrest that has flared up again and again for decades. It is therefore of central importance to achieve successful integration into the education system and the labor market and to decisively counter religious intolerance and hatred. For this purpose, appropriate staffing at the schools is just as necessary as good training and official support for the teaching staff. The integration into the legal system and the rejection of vigilante justice is partly determined by the cultural context from which the migrants come. Violence legitimizing masculinity norms, a high willingness to use violence and a high level of violence can be a great challenge for teachers and police officers, or even excessive demands, with which they must not be left alone. According to an analysis by migration researcher Stefan Luft, the role of religion in the integration process is ambivalent. Religion provides support and orientation in foreign surroundings and is therefore one of the most stable cultural factors for migrants and their descendants. This can lead to both deliberate delimitation and rejection in the host society. The headscarf is an example, as it can be an expression of religious self-determination and identity as well as an expression of demarcation and discrimination against women. In spite of the stronger life- world character of Islam, viewed from a contemporary perspective, it cannot be viewed as an obstacle to integration per se. In Germany, two groups of Muslim immigrants can be compared. The guest workers from Turkey had been recruited for unskilled and semi-skilled jobs and, in both the first and second generation, showed below-average knowledge of German, extremely limited friendship networks to their own ethnic group and the worst integration into the labor market. On the other hand, there was a flight from Iran by elites with a high level of education and relatively little religiousness. Most of them are well integrated. The social origin of the parents is therefore decisive for the success of integration.

    The European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) are cited by the European Union as important instruments to financially support the Member States in their efforts to integrate migrants.

    See also: Integration of Immigrants # Refugee Integration

    See also: Integration of immigrants # Professional integration of refugees

    See also: Integration of immigrants # Further developments in the course of the refugee crisis from 2015

    Problems in target countries

    Rise of right-wing populist forces

    The problems at the EU's external borders and the disagreement among EU states about the introduction of a quota system are fueling EU skepticism . Observers are increasingly concerned about the shifting of burdens to the individual European parliaments resulting from the previous incapacity to act, as in many cases right-wing parties and movements are gaining in support in the individual states.

    Violence and criminal offenses against refugees

    Xenophobic excesses increased considerably in many EU countries during the crisis . In 2015, 1,031 crimes against asylum shelters were committed in Germany, 923 of them with a right-wing extremist background. These included xenophobic protests in Freital , Heidenau and Dresden . In 2016, of almost 1,000 crimes against asylum shelters, 857 had a right-wing background.

    There were many demonstrations against refugees in Italy in 2015. Right-wing politicians from the Forza Nuova , Lega Nord and neo-fascists exploited social tensions and stoked protests, which on several occasions led to violent clashes and arson attacks.

    In Sweden there were more and more acid and arson attacks on Roma and their accommodation in 2014/15, as well as arson attacks on mosques. In October 2015 there were several arson attacks on planned collective accommodation.

    Violence and crime committed by refugees

    At least four participants (including two of the attackers) in a terrorist cell that carried out the terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015 in Paris had previously traveled to Europe as refugees with passports that IS had previously forged in Syria. According to press reports, around a dozen other people with passports from the same forgery workshop had previously come to Germany as refugees. The German authorities had failed to take their fingerprints and did not know their whereabouts.

    In March 2016, Belgian authorities arrested a terrorist suspect who had arrived on the island of Leros in September 2015 as a boat refugee from Turkey . In June 2016, German police unearthed an IS terrorist cell that had planned attacks in Düsseldorf's old town. The arrested Syrians are said to have come to Germany via the Balkan route.

    Conflicts between refugees

    There have been repeated reports in the media about conflicts between refugees in German and Austrian accommodation. There were mass brawls among asylum seekers and security officers, rape and sexual assault on women, children and homosexuals, and religious violence (e.g. against Yazidis and Christians). Authorities representatives and the German Institute for Human Rights named joint accommodation in heavily overcrowded rooms, ethnic and religious tensions and uncertain future prospects as contributing causes.

    In April 2015, Muslim refugees threw twelve Christians from their refugee boat into the Mediterranean. The victims are said to have refused to say an Islamic prayer. A court in Italy sentenced six perpetrators to 18 years in prison in February 2017.

    labour market

    In Germany, asylum seekers are not allowed to work for the first three months. In the following 15 months, they and tolerated persons may only be hired according to the priority check if a job cannot be filled by suitable applicants from Germany or the EU. This rule was suspended for three years in the Integration Act in regions with below-average unemployment. From three months stay in Germany are refugees on the basis of temporary workers can be employed. The employment rate in Germany is 78%. For non-European asylum seekers, it was 21.2% in October 2015 and 16.2% in October 2016.

    In Austria, asylum seekers are also not allowed to work for the first three months. After that, they must charitable work perform or work permit required as seasonal workers in tourism or agriculture. Only those entitled to asylum receive an unrestricted work permit. Asylum seekers receive a “recognition contribution” for charitable work. According to a study by the Austrian Institute for Economic Research , opening up the labor market to asylum seekers would result in lower wages for local workers and more unemployed people.

    A study from August 2016 examined 94 measures for integrating refugees into the labor market in nine EU countries. She found that integration into the labor market had not been satisfactory in any country.


    Expenditures for the refugees of 2015 and 2016 in 2016
    Country Refugees in 2015 and 2016 Costs for this in 2016 in million euros Share of GDP 2015 ø costs in € per citizen and year
    Sweden 179,017 2,403 0.54 245.27
    Austria 136.208 1,566 0.46 181.91
    Germany 1,301,068 13,309 0.44 163.48
    Switzerland 65.164 1,156 0.19 139.45
    Norway 33,613 645 0.18 124.19
    Luxembourg 4.263 69 0.13 120.82
    Finland 37,739 447 0.21 81.53
    Denmark 27,970 393 0.15 69.31
    Malta 3,398 24 0.28 56.36
    Belgium 52,700 543 0.13 48.08
    Netherlands 58,517 680 0.10 40.15
    Italy 197,739 2,359 0.14 38.80
    Cyprus 4,550 36 0.21 30.79
    Hungary 114,365 293 0.27 29.80
    Iceland 850 10 0.06 29.02
    Greece 57,521 313 0.18 28.91
    France 149,332 1,490 0.07 22.30
    United Kingdom 81,751 1,081 0.04 16.59
    Bulgaria 36,194 95 0.22 13.23
    EU + EFTA 2,614,306 27,296 0.17 52.14

    The funds that are being spent by European countries for the crisis are made up of various cost centers that are only recorded inconsistently by the countries. According to a study from 2016, costs for recording those seeking protection, assistance with livelihood, support services, resettlement, integration or deportation were recorded in different ways in different countries. An attempt by the OECD to standardize the recording of these costs initially failed in February 2016. In 2016, the Overseas Development Institute created an estimate of the expenditure for the crisis for 2015 and 2016 for the EU and EFTA area from various sources and put it in relation to GDP and calculated the costs per inhabitant based on the respective population figures from 2015.


    The direct costs of the refugee crisis for the federal government in 2016 totaled around 21.7 billion euros . In addition, around 23 billion euros came from state funds. For 2017, 21.3 billion euros were planned in the federal budget for refugee costs.

    The long-term costs of the refugee crisis, especially for the social systems, are forecast by the study by the Research Center for Generations Contracts at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg on behalf of the Market Economy Foundation in the most likely of several scenarios at EUR 878 billion. In the event that the children of the refugees would not be able to integrate into the labor market at the level of the fiscal average of the German population, the long-term costs of the "refugee crisis" and the failure of integration would be 1.56 trillion euros, arise. According to the authors of the study, politicians are therefore urgently called upon to ensure the best possible integration of refugees.


    According to press reports from October 2015 in the Ministry of Finance, the costs per asylum seeker were estimated at 10,724 euros per year. A study by the Fiscal Council from September 2016 calculated the net burden on the Austrian budget at 16,200 euros per refugee per year. According to the study, a positive contribution to the state budget is not expected before 2060. In the budget plan for 2017, the Ministry of Finance is assuming costs of 2.055 billion euros for refugees, asylum systems and integration . The calculations do not include the expenses of the individual federal states. What they spend on the minimum income for asylum seekers is not known in detail.

    Some large companies (including T-Mobile Austria , Hutchison Drei Austria , Erste Bank , the drugstore chain dm ) participated in refugee aid by offering services and aid packages specifically for asylum seekers.


    At the end of March 2016, Switzerland expected taxpayers to pay 20,000 francs (approx. 18,000 euros) per year and asylum seeker. The sum must be spent on average for seven years. For 2015, total costs of 1.2 billion francs are expected, for 2016 1.8 billion.

    As early as 2015, the BAMF saw the level of social benefits as one reason for the attractiveness of certain EU countries, including Germany, for asylum seekers.

    Ethical aspects

    For the philosopher Wolfram Eilenberger , 2015 marked “the end of the central lie of an entire European generation”. This consists in “the furtive hope that the concrete suffering that shapes and determines the everyday life of billions of people in the countries of the Middle East, Asia and Africa could also be kept at a distance in the living world for the coming decades [and in] the illusion of a core Europe as a wallless paradise garden in a world of misery. ”According to Eilenberger, viewers of news programs would look into the desperate faces of the people at the fences of Idomeni or Lesbos every evening in the spring of 2016. Most of them wore the same inner moral conflict as Chancellor Merkel in the face of the weeping Reem Sahwil on July 15, 2015. As “couch politicians”, media consumers tried to calm themselves down morally by saying that their responsibility and their ability to help had reasonable limits would have to know and acknowledge. At the same time, however, they felt that every specifically named boundary or rule contained a moment of complete arbitrariness, even downright fantastic arbitrariness - and that this itself represented a moral irresponsibility. No one can "save" the whole world. "But this specific family, there on the fence, certainly does."

    In February 2016, development economist Paul Collier saw a policy that rewards those who manage to penetrate refugee-friendly countries like Germany as ethically reprehensible. Chancellor Merkel had "practically asked people to swim to Europe." This is a kind of Russian roulette, because they have to hope that the smuggler's boat, which is often unseaworthy, does not sink before they are picked up by EU ships or aid organizations. In addition, it is not the most needy people who come in this way, but young men who are wealthy enough to pay thousands of euros to smugglers. These wealthy young men would later be sorely missed in the reconstruction of Syria because they had sold all their property in order to come to Europe. According to Collier, anyone who really wants a large number of refugees to get to safety should organize flights from the refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

    In June 2017, journalist Klaus Geiger viewed open borders as inhumane and unjust. On the one hand, human lives would be endangered if parents sent their children to Europe without protection and / or if refugees boarded unseaworthy boats to get to Europe. Secondly, young men with enough money would have the best chances of coming to Europe; really poor refugees would stay away from any welcoming culture. Thirdly, it is 130 times more expensive to care for refugees in Europe than near their home region. While a lot of money is being spent on refugees who have made it to Europe, little is left for the others.


    Web links

    Commons : Refugee Crisis in Europe  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


    Individual evidence

    1. Kirsten Hoesch: Migration and Integration. An introduction. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2018, ISBN 978-3-658-09735-6 , pp. 20–24
    2. ^ Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis , Munich 2017, p. 9; Karl Steinacker: Refugee Crises: Possibilities and Limits of Development Cooperation. Weltforum, 1992, ISBN 3-8039-0400-5 , p. 149 and more often
    3. ^ Hannah von Grönheim: Solidarity with closed doors. The subject of the flight between discursive constructions and counter-drafts. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2018, ISBN 978-3-658-19712-4 , p. 368 and fn. 88
    4. Julia Schulze Wessel: Crisis! What crisis? In: Franz Walter (Ed.): Europe without identity? Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2017, ISBN 3-525-80021-5 , pp. 62-66
    5. Hannah von Grönheim: Solidarity with closed doors , Wiesbaden 2018, p. 104f.
    6. Hannah von Grönheim: Solidarity with closed doors , Wiesbaden 2018, p. 14f.
    7. ^ Heaven Crawley, Franck Düvell, Katharine Jones, Simon McMahon, Nando Sigona: Unraveling Europe's 'Migration Crisis': Journeys Over Land and Sea. Policy Press, Bristol 2018, ISBN 1-4473-4321-2 , p. 13
    8. Heaven Crawley, Franck Düvell, Katharine Jones, Simon McMahon, Nando Sigona: Unraveling Europe's 'Migration Crisis' , Bristol 2018, pp. 130 ff.
    9. Marianne Takle: Is the migration crisis a crisis solidarity? In: Andreas Grimmel (Ed.): The Crisis of the European Union. Challenges, analyzes, solutions. Routledge, 2017, ISBN 978-1-138-21564-1 , pp. 141ff. (Chapter 8) and p. 52 ; Tomaž Grušovnik and others (eds.): Borders and Debordering: Topologies, Praxes, Hospitableness. Lexington Books, London 2018, ISBN 978-1-4985-7130-2 , p. 35 ; Andreas Grimmel, Susanne My Giang (ed.): Solidarity in the European Union: A Fundamental Value in Crisis. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2017, ISBN 978-3-319-57036-5 , p. 74 and more
    10. Robin Alexander: “Language struggles around the refugee crisis”, in: From Politics and Contemporary History, 70th year, 30–32 / 2020, pp. 14–19; P. 18. PDF
    11. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, pp. 11–13 and 19
    12. UNHCR: Global Trends 2013 ; Global Trends 2014 ; Global Trends 2015 ; Global Trends 2016 ; Global Trends 2017 (PDF p. 2 Trends at a Glance , as well as Chapter 2, p. 13 f. Refugees )
    13. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, p. 12f.
    14. a b Record number of over 1.2 million first time asylum seekers registered in 2015. (44/2016) March 4, 2016; 1.2 million first time asylum seekers registered in 2016 (46/2017) March 16, 2017; Asylum in the EU Member States: 650 000 first-time asylum seekers registered in 2017 (47/2018) March 20, 2018
    15. Kirsten Hoesch: Migration and Integration , Wiesbaden 2018, p. 4
    16. Maximilian Popp: "Refugees welcome!" ... minutes of a turning point. In: Anja Reschke (Ed.): And that's just the beginning. Germany and the refugees. Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2015, pp. 16–27, here p. 17f.
    17. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, pp. 37–39
    18. European Stability Initiative: The refugee Crisis through Statistics. January 30, 2017, PDF p. 12 and fn. 23–24
    19. ^ UNHCR: Mediterranean Situation
    20. ^ UNHCR: Mediterranean Situation
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    22. Markus Becker: Empty Balkan Route: The perceived end of the refugee crisis.
    23. Frontex: The number of boat refugees in Greece fell significantly in 2016. Welt, January 6, 2017
    24. ^ IOM: Mixed Migration Flows In The Mediterranean Compilation Of Available Data And Information December 2017 (PDF, December 2017
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      Sudarsan Raghavan: A Tunisian gravedigger gives migrants what they were deprived of in life: Dignity. Washington Post, September 10, 2018.
      Sarah Mersch: Migrant pastor in Tunisia - The gravedigger of the castaways. Cicero, April 10, 2015.
    38. Christoph Debets: Island cemetery overcrowded: New cemetery for migrants on Lesbos . Euronews, February 15, 2016.
      Jeanne Carstensen: Overcoming the Empathy Gap: Covering Europe's Migrant Crisis for an American Audience. In Giovanna Dell'Orto, Irmgard Wetzstein (ed.): Refugee News, Refugee Politics: Journalism, Public Opinion and Policymaking in Europe. Routledge, New York 2019, ISBN 978-1-351-04961-0 , p. 163 .
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    42. 90,000 underage asylum seekers. NZZ, May 2, 2016
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    45. Gabriele Gillen: Why, where from, where? People on the run - a first overview. In: Anja Reschke (Ed.): And that's just the beginning. Germany and the refugees. Reinbek near Hamburg 2015, pp. 41–54, here p. 41f .; Flight and displacement. Federal Agency for Civic Education , June 22, 2018
    46. ^ Óscar García Agustín, Martin Bak Jørgensen: Solidarity and the 'Refugee Crisis' in Europe . Palgrave Pivot, Cham 2019, ISBN 978-3-319-91847-1 , p. 6 .
    47. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, pp. 15 and 19–22.
    48. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, pp. 26–37
    49. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, p. 7 (foreword)
    50. Alexander Betts, Paul Collier: Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System. Siedler, 2017, ISBN 978-0-19-065915-8 , pp. 75f.
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    58. Matthew Weaver: Syrian refugees: more than 5 m have now fled their country, says UN. The Guardian, March 30, 2017
    59. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, p. 33
    60. ^ Loveday Morris: Battle for Islamic State stronghold could trigger a new crisis: A million displaced Iraqis. Washington Post, October 3, 2016
    61. Few pledges to accept Syrians - UN Refugee Conference misses its target. ARD Tagesschau, March 31, 2016.
    62. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, pp. 29–32
    63. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, p. 32f.
    64. 200,000 new internally displaced persons in Afghanistan on December 16, 2015
    65. Stefan Klein: Afghanistan names tough conditions for the return of refugees. SZ, February 1, 2016
    66. Sandra Petersmann / ARD: No money for fleeing to Europe. Deutschlandradio Kultur , June 23, 2016
    67. ^ Afghan government loses control over southern provinces. Sächsische Zeitung / dpa, February 2, 2017, p. 5
    68. Vera Hanewinkel: Countries of Origin of Refugees in Europe - Afghanistan and Pakistan. ( Memento from September 26, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), December 11, 2014; Omer Farooq Khan: 5,000 Hindus flee Pak every year due to persecution. Times of India, May 14, 2014
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    70. a b Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, p. 34f.
    71. a b Vera Hanewinkel: Refugees in Europe - A look at the countries of origin Eritrea and Somalia . ( Memento from September 27, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) 8/14, November 13, 2014
    72. Michael Obert: Torture as a business model. How smugglers make big money with Eritreans. Das Magazin , February 20, 2016, pp. 16–26
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    76. Background: Where the refugees come from. ARD Tagesschau, April 23, 2015
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    81. Lori Hinnant: Walk or die: Algeria strands 13,000 migrants in the Sahara. June 25, 2018, accessed September 1, 2019 .
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    86. Morocco: Anger at the King. ARD, September 18, 2017
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    89. ^ Óscar García Agustín, Martin Bak Jørgensen: Solidarity and the 'Refugee Crisis' in Europe . Palgrave Pivot, Cham 2019, ISBN 978-3-319-91847-1 , p. 7 .
    90. Colin Freeman: Libya warns it could flood Europe with migrants if EU does not recognize new self-declared government. Telegraph, Nov. 2, 2015
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    130. Fight illegality, strengthen legality. September 24, 2016
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    151. anst./AFP/Reuters: Tsipras makes yes to “Brexit” deal dependent on open borders ,, February 19, 2016
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    153. Thomas Mayer, Birgit Baumann: EU Commission: Austria must not "wave through" refugees., February 22, 2016
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    155. ^ Julian Borger: Refugee arrivals in Greece exceed 100,000 in less than two months. The Guardian, Feb. 23, 2016
    156. Austria and the Balkan countries want a “chain reaction of reason”. The press, February 24, 2016
    157. ^ Western Balkans Conference on Refugees - "We want a chain reaction of reason". ARD, February 24, 2016
    158. Blockade of the Balkan route was more effective than the Turkey deal. Welt, June 12, 2016
    159. Addiction is dangerous. Spiegel No. 22/2016, May 28, 2016, p. 98 ff.
    160. Macedonia also closes the Balkan route for refugees. Ostsee-Zeitung / dpa, March 9, 2016; Greece is increasingly deporting to Turkey., March 2, 2016
    161. Adelheid Wölfl: Police use tear gas against refugees on the Greek-Macedonian border., February 29, 2016
    162. Hundreds of refugees storm the railway line near Idomeni. Time February 29, 2016
    163. At the EU border: beaten and robbed - refugees accuse the police of brutality. Welt, September 2, 2017
    164. Melanie Reinsch: Police violence against refugees: "They are literally beaten back". FRI, November 6, 2017
    165. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, pp. 39–44
    166. Martin Gehlen: It continues via Libya. Time March 21, 2016
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    441. ^ Alison Smale, Steven Erlanger: Thousands of Migrants Cross From Hungary to Austria as New Groups Set Off. NYT, September 5, 2015; Mikl-Leitner: We fight against people smugglers, not refugees., September 4, 2015
    442. Emergency sleeping quarters set up for the night. ORF, September 5, 2015
    443. Search for additional emergency beds. ORF, September 10, 2015; Hungary is considering declaring a crisis. ( Memento from October 4, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Die Rheinpfalz , September 13, 2015
    444. ^ EU summit: Open exchange of blows between Faymann and Orban. The press, September 24, 2015
    445. Hungary accuses Faymann of "campaign of lies"., September 13, 2015
    446. Refugees in Salzburg: How the crisis becomes "routine". Salzburger Nachrichten , October 8, 2015
    447. Around 4,500 refugees arrived in Styria on Saturday., October 24, 2015
    448. Mikl-Leitner: "There is no other way operationally". The Interior Minister rejects the allegation of abuse of office or unconstitutionality., June 13, 2015; Mikl-Leitner: Reds are demanding resignation. Vienna State Parliament President Kopietz: "Mrs. Interior Minister, step back!". ÖVP-Blümel countered., August 21, 2015; Mikl-Leitner reports asylum in need and demands her resignation. Austria Press Agency (OTS-Service), August 7, 2015
    449. a b "We're drinking" - call for help from the Bavarian police. Welt, October 25, 2015
    450. 5500 refugees reach the border in Lower Bavaria on Tuesday. Passauer Neue Presse, October 28, 2015; Fronts hardened on the refugee issue - 5,500 people arrived in Passau. ORF, October 28, 2015
    451. Two neighbors quarrel over refugees. SZ, October 28, 2015
    452. WZOnline / APA: Searching for quarters “is very urgent”. Wiener Zeitung from October 29, 2015.
    453. Refugees: “Temporary asylum” should apply from mid-November., November 2, 2015
    454. More and more unaccompanied children are applying for asylum in Austria., November 20, 2015
    455. 85,000 asylum applications in Austria, more refugees worldwide than ever before., December 18, 2015
    456. ↑ Set up the first fence posts in the playing field., December 7, 2015
    457. Playing field: "Border management" started. The press, January 20, 2016
    458. ^ The Austrian Word of the Year 2015 at
    459. Incorrect data: migrants sent back. ORF, December 29, 2015
    460. Debate about the maximum asylum limit: Häupl accuses Kurz of “intrigues”., January 3, 2016
    461. kle / gri: Faymann: Schengen rules "temporarily suspended". Deutsche Welle on January 17, 2016
    462. ÖVP wants to refuse entry to refugees with 37,500 or more applications., January 21, 2016
    463. ^ A b Refugee crisis: Austria is considering a military mission in the Balkans. Spiegel Online, February 5, 2016
    464. Refugees: Schelling demands 600 million euros from the EU -, February 6, 2016
    465. Stephan Löwenstein: Take fingerprints and delete them again immediately. FAZ, February 6, 2016.
    466. Daily quota: 80 asylum applications at the southern border are over., February 17, 2016
    467. ↑ Transport of refugees to the German border agreed. Welt, February 18, 2016
    468. Migration. Austrian secret service warns. The press, February 29, 2016
    469. Heeres-Nachrichtenamt warns of scenario “like 2015”. Kleine Zeitung, February 29, 2016; Austria as a buffer state for irregular migration., February 29, 2016
    470. Sebastian Kurz: Austrian Foreign Minister: Athens should provide better care for refugees. SZ, March 2, 2016
    471. APA: In short: police violence against refugees also necessary in the case of an EU solution., March 3, 2016
    472. Agenda of the Austrian National Council with numerous links
    473. APA: Brenner: Renzi complains about populism in Austria., May 23, 2016; Hubert Rauth: Refugees: On foot on the motorway and rails., May 24, 2016
    474. ^ Günther Oswald: Draft of the Asylum Emergency Ordinance: “Total collapse of the facilities threatens”., August 31, 2016
    475. 42,073 asylum applications in 2016 in Austria: 96 percent of the upper limit met. Standard January 15, 2016
    476. Tyrolean police report a record of apprehensions of illegally immigrants., February 7, 2016
    477. Core letter: “Austria's involvement in resettlement not justified”., March 28, 2017
    478. Steffen Arora: Sobotka welcomes Kern's “180 degree turn” in refugee policy., March 29, 2017
    479. March 13, 2018: Government announces changes to asylum law
    480. ↑ The number of asylum applications is increasing sharply in Switzerland. SRF , September 3, 2015
    481. 15 percent more refugees in September. Berner Zeitung, October 3, 2015
    482. Federal Council sees no reason for emergency law. ( Memento from September 13, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Neue Luzerner Zeitung, September 3, 2015
    483. Afghans are now also coming to Switzerland. Berner Zeitung , November 9, 2015
    484. a b Switzerland takes cash from refugees. Spiegel Online, January 15, 2016
    485. ^ A b Reuters: Swiss, Like Danes, Seize Assets From Refugees to Recoup Costs-TV. New York Times, Jan. 14, 2016
    486. Clear yes to the Asylum Act. Der Bund, June 5, 2016
    487. Stefan Bühler: Suddenly Switzerland is under fire. NZZ on Sunday, August 21, 2016
    488. ^ Dominique Eigenmann: Ticket directly to Constance., August 17, 2016
    489. Asylum Statistics 2016. SEM, January 23, 2017
    490. SRF 4 News: "8,000 asylum seekers« disappeared »last year" SRF, January 1, 2017
    491. 48,838 illegal entries into Switzerland., January 31, 2017
    492. ↑ The number of asylum applications fell by a third in 2017. NZZ, January 22, 2018
    493. Federal Office overturns "Dublin". Ntv, August 25, 2015
    494. Germany corrects the number of refugees for 2015. Welt, September 30, 2016
    495. a b “It works”. Number of refugees corrected from 1.1 million to 890,000. Spiegel Online, September 29, 2016
    496. Asylum business statistics for the month of December 2015 and the 2015 reporting year ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, January 6, 2016
    497. Family reunification of Syrian refugees. ( Memento of November 30, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) BAMF, June 8, 2016; 500,000 family members from Syria expected. Time June 8, 2016
    498. Anthony Faiola: A global surge in refugees leaves Europe struggling to cope. In: The Washington Post. April 21, 2015, accessed September 10, 2015 .
    499. Germany Says Europe's Inaction on Refugees 'Unacceptable'. NYT, Aug 20, 2015
    500. Uta Rasche: The unwanted from the Balkans. FAZ, August 8, 2015
    501. Anna Reimann, Severin Weiland: Syrian refugees in Bavaria: How a rumor lured thousands onto the trains. Spiegel Online, September 1, 2015
    502. Thousands of refugees are waiting in front of Keleti train station. Time, September 2, 2015
    503. Oliver Mayer-Rüth: Should Merkel have asked the Bundestag?, December 22, 2015
    504. Stephan Haselberger, Armin Lehmann, Ulrike Scheffer, Frank Jansen : Interior Minister: We can no longer do it. Tagesspiegel, September 11, 2015
    505. Germany is temporarily introducing border controls. Spiegel Online, September 13, 2015
    506. AFP / dpa: 135,000 refugees come to Bavaria in September. FAZ, September 14, 2015
    507. Andreas Ulrich: Plan of the Federal Government: Special trains are to pick up refugees from Austria. Spiegel Online, September 28, 2015
    508. Federal Office for Migration and Refugees: Bamf suspects 290,000 unregistered refugees in Germany. Time September 30, 2015
    509. Countries are committed to refugee policy. ( Memento from October 27, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), October 9, 2015
    510. Horst Seehofer just makes a fool of himself. Welt, October 10, 2015; Gabriel mocks Seehofer's "scare tactics". FAZ, October 10, 2015; “Hot air”, “completely absurd”, “affront to the Chancellor”. SZ, October 10, 2015
    511. Bavaria no longer wants to sue the federal government. FAZ, May 2, 2016
    512. Thousands of refugees disappeared in Germany: "They are simply no longer there". Focus, October 31, 2015
    513. Refugees: What happens on the border with Austria . SZ, October 28, 2015
    514. Seehofer railed against Austria and Merkel. SZ, October 27, 2015
    515. Reuters, dpa, coh: Seehofer sets Merkel ultimatum until All Saints' Day. Welt, October 27, 2015
    516. ^ Christoph Hickmann, Robert Roßmann: Union and SPD are divided. SZ, November 1, 2015
    517. ↑ Entry into force of the asylum package is delayed. ( Memento from December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Deutschlandfunk, December 1, 2015
    518. ^ Robert Roßmann: Federal government does not know the number of refugees in initial reception centers. SZ, November 12, 2015
    519. Cologne sex attacks: Women describe 'terrible' assaults. BBC, Jan 7, 2016
    520. ^ Wolfgang Janisch: When can delinquent foreigners be deported - and when not. SZ, January 7, 2016
    521. ^ Óscar García Agustín, Martin Bak Jørgensen: Solidarity and the 'Refugee Crisis' in Europe . Palgrave Pivot, Cham 2019, ISBN 978-3-319-91847-1 , p. 4 .
    522. ^ Government declaration by the Chancellor. Continuing the European way., February 17, 2016
    523. a b Kurz calls for a clear statement from Berlin on the refugee issue., February 24, 2016
    524. Reinhard Frauscher: De Maizière angered Vienna with criticism of contingents. Tagesspiegel, February 22, 2016
    525. ^ WZ Online, APA: De Maiziere threatens Austria with consequences. Wiener Zeitung, February 22, 2016
    526. Alexander Wendt: Where are the refugees? "We have no knowledge". Focus, April 24, 2016
    527. Bamf boss praises central registration of refugees. Time June 4, 2016
    528. Michael Behrendt, Hannelore Crolly, Claus Christian Malzahn: The refugees keep coming to us - only in secret. Welt, June 13, 2016
    529. Answer of the Federal Government to the minor question from the MPs Ulla Jelpke, Sevim Dağdelen, Frank Tempel, other MPs and the parliamentary group DIE LINKE - Printed matter 18/9302 - Numbers of refugees living in the Federal Republic of Germany as of June 30, 2016 (PDF), September 6, 2016
    530. Half a million rejected asylum seekers not deported. World, September 22, 2016
    531. Federal government wants more deportations. Sächsische Zeitung / dpa, February 10, 2017
    532. Arcel Leubecher: In 2017, over 444,000 asylum applications were decided so far. Welt, August 9, 2017
    533. a b UK to accept 20,000 refugees from Syria by 2020. BBC, September 7, 2015
    534. ^ A b Calais migrant crisis: Theresa May signs deal with France. BBC, August 20, 2015
    535. France criticizes Eastern Europe, Hungary Over Refugee Policy. NYT, Aug. 30, 2015
    536. ^ The British and French are considering military operations in Syria. Reuters, September 6, 2015
    537. USA warn Russia against military intervention in Syria. Berliner Morgenpost , September 6, 2015, archived from the original on April 10, 2020 .;
    538. La France a mené ses premières frappes en Syrie. Le Monde , September 27, 2015
    539. Denial: France's Prime Minister Valls does not call for a freeze on admission. ( Memento from November 25, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Deutschlandfunk, November 25, 2015
    540. Manuel Valls: 'Europe is in grave danger over migration crisis'. BBC, Jan 22, 2016
    541. Setback for Merkel: Valls rejects refugee contingents. ARD Tagesschau, February 13, 2016
    542. Risk Analysis for 2017. (PDF) Frontex, February 2017
    543. Michaela Wiegel : Paris is serious about criminal foreigners. FAZ, October 17, 2017
    544. With a hard hand. FAZ, October 22, 2017
    545. David Chazan: Illegal migrants in Paris suburb soar to 400,000 as hundreds of migrant children sleep on streets. Telegraph, July 5, 2018
    546. ^ Charles Michel : Belgium shows solidarity and accepts 250 refugees. Press release. September 7, 2015.
    547. Belgium is wooing refugees in Bielefeld. Rheinische Post, September 12, 2015.
    548. ^ Anthony Deutsch, Gareth Jones: Dutch government supports EU Commission proposal on migrants. Reuters, June 9, 2015
    549. Yoruk Bahceli: Dutch plan tougher asylum policy as migrants flock to Europe. Reuters, August 26, 2015
    550. ^ The Guardian view on the refugee crisis: Europe must meet this moral challenge. The Guardian, Oct. 28, 2014
    551. Britain Attacks 'Broken' EU Migration System, Demands Tighter Rules. NYT, Aug. 30, 2015
    552. ^ Griff Witte, Karla Adam: Britain takes in so few refugees from Syria they would fit on a subway train. Washington Post, September 1, 2015
    553. ^ Ben Farmer: Cyprus RAF base migrants: 'David Cameron is keeping us in Guantánamo.' Telegraph, Nov. 3, 2015
    554. Maev Kennedy: UK government loses appeal against case of refugees at Cyprus base. The Guardian, May 25, 2017
    555. ^ David Barrett: Syrian migrants in Calais win green light to come to Britain. Telegraph January 20, 2016
    556. Jon Stone: Home Office deports three times more teenagers to war-torn countries than previously admitted. The Independent, April 18, 2016
    557. Calais migrants given green light to use European human rights laws to come to Britain. January 20, 2016
    558. Jochen Buchsteiner: The Germans seem very unsympathetic. FAZ, September 22, 2015
    559. ^ Heather Stewart, Rowena Mason: Nigel Farage's anti-migrant poster reported to police. The Guardian, June 16, 2016
    560. Peter Dominiczak: UK facing more than 40,000 asylum applications this year as migrants turn to 'covert methods', report finds. Telegraph, September 16, 2016
    561. ^ Jon Stone: "Ministers say child refugee scheme they are closing early 'incentivises' children to become refugees" The Independent, February 9, 2017
    562. ^ Christians from Syria landed in Poland. Polskie Radio , July 11, 2015
    563. Michał Kokot: Poland's priest of hatred. Time October 5, 2015
    564. Problem migrantów ma zostać rozwiązany poza granicami UE. Gazeta Wyborcza , November 29, 2015
    565. ↑ The mood against refugees is effective: Poland votes on the right. n-tv, October 28, 2015
    566. Government wants to renegotiate admission of refugees. ( Memento from November 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Deutschlandfunk, November 23, 2015
    567. Poland does not want to accept any more refugees after the attacks in Brussels. Welt, March 23, 2016
    568. Slovakia does not want to let Muslim refugees into the country. Time January 7th, 2016
    569. APA, dpa: Again thousands of people arrived in Piraeus., March 2, 2016
    570. Parliamentary election in Slovakia: Prime Minister stirs up fear of “Cologne conditions”. Spiegel Online, March 4, 2016
    571. ↑ The Czech Republic wants to send back Iraqi refugees. The West, April 3, 2016
    572. ^ Dpa: The Czech Republic stops accepting Christian Iraqis. NZZ, April 7, 2016
    573. Till Janzer: Pilot project failed? Iraqis flown out of the Czech Republic stay in Germany., April 4, 2016
    574. Daniela Lazarová: Czech Republic will read the group of Iraqi refugees from Germany., April 16, 2016
    575. Marcel Leubecher: Why recognized refugees absolutely want to go to Germany. Welt, November 2, 2016
    576. Frank Seibel: First successes for Moravian church asylum. SZ, December 20, 2016
    577. Thomas Borchert: Quenching, waving through, mobbing. FRI, November 1, 2015
    578. ^ Danish deterrent campaign. Deutsche Welle, August 6, 2015.
    579. Government wants to quarter refugees in tents / Red Cross outraged / Camp also in Seegaard. ( Memento from March 8, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) The North Schleswig , November 13, 2015.
    580. Parliament decision : Denmark significantly tightened asylum laws. ARD Tagesschau, January 26, 2016.
    581. Denmark introduces passport controls at the border with Germany. Spiegel Online, January 4, 2016.
    582. Denmark introduces controls at the border with Germany. SZ, January 4, 2016.
    583. Denmark extends border controls. Spiegel Online, May 2, 2016
    584. ^ Crisis law: Denmark wants to be able to turn away refugees at the border. Spiegel, August 30, 2016
    585. Reinhard WolfF: Copenhagen decides to freeze asylum. taz, December 31, 2017
    586. ^ Even in Sweden the mood is changing. SZ, October 26, 2015
    587. Kate Connolly: Germany to receive 750,000 asylum seekers this year, reports claim. The Guardian, Aug. 18, 2015
    588. Andre Anwar: Sweden's asylum turnaround. Saxon Newspaper, December 20, 2015
    589. Sweden split over move to tighten asylum rules. The Local Sweden, November 24, 2015
    590. ^ Right-wing populists Sweden’s strongest party. N-TV, August 20, 2015
    591. a b Daniel Dickson, Elias von Hildebrand: Swedish tolerance under question as attacks on migrants rise. The Globe and Mail , Aug. 24, 2015
    592. a b Limits of a great power. FAZ, October 23, 2015
    593. UN: Sweden is bearing brunt of migrant crisis. The Local, August 18, 2015
    594. Sweden expects up to 190,000 refugees., October 22, 2015
    595. ^ Swedish asylum staff attacked by rioting youths. The Local, January 28, 2016
    596. AFP, nago, mli: Sweden demands redistribution of its refugees. Welt, November 3, 2015
    597. Sweden temporarily introduces border controls. Spiegel Online, November 11, 2015; Government decides to temporarily reintroduce internal border controls.
    598. ^ Björn Dake: Controls between Denmark and Sweden. Deutschlandfunk, January 2, 2016
    599. Refugees: Sweden extends border controls. Spiegel Online, January 7, 2016
    600. Sweden wants to deport 80,000 asylum seekers. January 29, 2016
    601. June 21, 2016 / Dan Bilefsky: Sweden Toughens Rules for Refugees Seeking Asylum.
    602. Helmut Steuer: Northern Europe's isolation will primarily affect Germany. Welt, January 4, 2015
    603. Finland also announces mass deportations. Time January 28, 2016
    604. ^ Andrew Higgins: EU Suspects Russian Agenda in Migrants' Shifting Arctic Route. NYT, April 2, 2016
    605. Finland and Russia close the Arctic border. Spiegel, March 23, 2016
    606. Norway may receive 25,000 refugees in 2015., October 6, 2015
    607. blc / msh (Reuters, AFP): Norway to send back Syrian refugees who came from Russia. Deutsche Welle, October 15, 2015
    608. ^ Andrew Higgins: Avoiding Risky Seas, Migrants Reach Europe With an Arctic Bike Ride. NYT, October 9, 2015
    609. a b More Than 500 Syrians Stranded in Cold on Russian Border With Norway - Report., October 29, 2015
    610. ^ Norway to limit asylum grants to five years., October 8, 2015
    611. Afghans not entitled to residence in Norway will be deported.
    612. Richard Orange: Norway launches anti-refugee advertising campaign The Telegraph, November 4, 2015
    613. ^ Asylum regulations in Norway. ( Memento from November 17, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
    614. Introduction of border controls., November 26, 2015; Norway checks ferries from Germany for refugees. FAZ, November 26, 2015
    615. APA: Refugees without papers have to leave Norway within 48 hours., November 26, 2015
    616. Reinhardt Wolff: Deportation by bike in freezing temperatures. taz, December 16, 2015
    617. Andrius Sytas and Gederts Gelzis "resettled in the Baltics, refugees flee for wealthier lands" Reuters, 28 November 2016
    618. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, p. 104
    619. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, p. 105
    620. a b Nadine Oberhuber: Better than expected. August 9, 2018, accessed December 5, 2018 .
    621. a b Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, pp. 6–7.
    622. Özcan Mutlu: Refugees, goes to the football fields, does sports. November 29, 2015, accessed December 5, 2018 .
    623. Tina Nobis, Christoph Barth, Susanne Borth: Refugee work by sports clubs - also for girls and women? Concepts, measures and perspectives for intercultural opening of sports clubs . In: Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (Ed.): Solidarity in Change . Berlin 2017 ( [PDF]).
    624. Advisory Council of German Foundations for Integration and Migration: Family reunification promotes the integration of those entitled to protection. January 29, 2018, accessed December 5, 2018 .
    625. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, p. 106
    626. EU Commission: Integration of refugees into the labor market: Commission initiates partnership with economic and social partners. December 20, 2017, accessed December 5, 2018 .
    627. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, pp. 106–107
    628. Stefan Luft: The refugee crisis. Munich 2017, pp. 108-109
    629. European Parliament: Integration of Refugees in Europe. July 14, 2017, accessed December 5, 2018 .
    630. Steven Erlanger, Alison Smale : Migrant Influx May Give Europe's Far Right a Lift. New York Times, September 7, 2015
    631. ↑ Wave of violence - BKA counts more than a thousand attacks on refugee homes. Spiegel Online, January 28, 2016
    632. Almost 1,000 attacks on refugee homes in 2016. Welt, December 28, 2016
    633. ^ Julius Müller-Meiningen: Protests against refugees in Italy - social tensions. Badische Zeitung , July 20, 2015
    634. Sweden protest after three mosque fires in one week. BBC, Jan. 2, 2015
    635. dpa: Another fire in Swedish asylum accommodation. NZZ, October 20, 2015
    636. Anthony Faiola and Souad Mekhennet: "Tracing the path of four terrorists sent to Europe by the Islamic State". Washington Post, April 22, 2016
    637. Refugees with passports from the IS forgery workshop in Germany. FAZ, December 22, 2015
    638. David Chazan: Paris attacks arrest: Captured Salah Abdeslam accomplice 'entered Europe as migrant'. Telegraph, March 20, 2016
    639. ^ Düsseldorf: IS terrorist cell planned attack with ten assassins. Spiegel online, June 3, 2016
    640. ^ A b German Institute for Human Rights: Religious Violence in Refugee Accommodation. (PDF) 2016, accessed December 5, 2018 .
    641. Camp fever and gangs: Violence in refugee shelters is increasing. Die Presse, September 29, 2015; Sexual violence in refugee homes: “Single mothers are particularly at risk”. Spiegel, October 4, 2015; Again mass brawl in Berlin refugee home. Die Presse, November 29, 2015; Mass brawl in refugee accommodation: 25 arrests. The press, December 4, 2015
    642. Drama on a refugee boat. ORF, April 17, 2015; Muslim migrants threw Christians into the sea: 18 years imprisonment., February 20, 2017
    643. Lisa Caspari: Integration Act - Work better, fail faster. Zeit Online, May 25, 2016
    644. Press release January 25, 2016. DESTATIS
    645. Compact labor market: Refugee migration December 2016 . (PDF)
    646. ^ Q&A: Asylum seekers in Austria. ( Memento of August 25, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) UNHCR; Günther Oswald: Open the job market for asylum seekers: Hundstorfer “open” to Juncker's proposal., September 9, 2015
    647. FAQ No. 9
    648. Julia Bock-Schappelwein, Peter Hube: Effects of easing labor market access for asylum seekers in Austria. ( Memento from July 14, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), April 2015 (PDF)
    649. András Szigetvari: Study: No EU country has so far been successful in integrating into the labor market., August 18, 2016
    650. a b John Cosgrave, Karen Hargrave, Marta Foresti and Isabella Massa: "Europe's refugees and migrants Hidden flows, tightened borders and spiraling costs" Overseas Development Institute 09/2016, pages 43-46.
    651. ↑ The refugee crisis costs Germany 22 billion euros annually . Welt Online , January 27, 2017
    652. Refugee costs exceed the mark of 20,000,000,000 euros . Welt Online , March 10, 017
    653. Budget 2016 - 21.7 billion euros for refugees ., January 27, 2017
    654. Arguments on Market Economy and Politics No. 135, pp. 20–21
    655. ^ Wirtschaftsblatt "A refugee costs 10,724 euros per year" ( Memento from October 15, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Wirtschaftsblatt from October 14, 2015
    656. Refugees: Fiscal Council study expects further high costs., September 30, 2016
    657. Refugees cost two billion euros. The press, October 11, 2016
    658. Refugees: FPÖ mobilizes online against helpful companies., September 20, 2015
    659. Peter Jankovsky: Asylum costs will probably double , NZZ of March 31, 2016
    660. Anja Ettel, Holger Zschäpitz: Where in Europe refugees get the most money. Welt, September 18, 2015; Federal Office expects 450,000 asylum applications this year. BAMF, May 7, 2015; Michael Martens Peace cannot be eaten. FAZ, September 2, 2015
    661. Wolfram Eilenberger: What to do? . Philosophy magazine . Edition 2/2016
    662. Wolfram Eilenberger: Where does my responsibility end? . Philosophy magazine . Edition 4/2016
    663. Lena Schipper: Development economist Collier: "Merkel's refugee policy is reprehensible". FAZ, February 22, 2016.
    664. Open borders are unjust and endanger human life. Welt, June 12, 2017.