European Migrant Crisis By the Numbers

Whoever knows me is aware of how fond I am of The Economist. Last month, it published various infographics that explain and elicit the extremity of the migrant crisis — the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Millions of economic and political refugees have fled their homes in search for better, safer lives. Now, Europe is grappling with these “huddled masses yearning to breathe fee.

Asylum Applications and Countries of Origin. Asylum claims to European countries are at their highest since records began. Around one-quarter of 2015’s applicants were Syrian. But Iraqis and Afghans fleeing war and poverty also account for a large share, as do largely economic migrants from Balkan countries like Kosovo and Albania. Around one-third of last year’s claims were made in Germany.

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Routes into Europe. Conflicts in places like Syria and Iraq have dragged on, leaving millions stranded in refugee camps on their periphery. As stays in camps stretch to years, the hazardous journey to Europe becomes more appealing and more join the migrant trail. Most European nations have responded by unilaterally closing borders and tightening asylum rules, hoping to discourage them.

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Acceptance Decisions. For migrants that successfully reach the country in which they hope to settle, they must file an asylum application with its government. Acceptance depends mostly upon the country of origin. European countries have tried to control the influx through border controls and policies designed to discourage asylum seekers from applying.

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Acceptances and EU relocation proposals. While Germany and Sweden have accepted a disproportionate share of Europe’s asylum seekers, nations on the front line of the influx must initially accommodate the new arrivals. Under a controversial EU plan, up to 160,000 asylum-seekers* who reached Italy, Greece and Hungary are to be relocated to other European countries. So far, only a few hundred have moved.

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