About this Website

The Syrian refugee crisis and its repercussions for the EU


An estimated 11 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of the civil war in March 2011. Now, in the sixth year of war, 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance within the country. Among those escaping the conflict, the majority have sought refuge in neighbouring countries or within Syria itself. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 4.8 million have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, and 6.6 million are internally displaced within Syria. Meanwhile about one million have requested asylum to Europe. Germany, with more than 300,000 cumulated applications, and Sweden with 100,000, are EU’s top receiving countries.

This website offers a snapshot of the repercussions of this refugee crisis for the European Union. It is a project of the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute in Florence. The website offers key data on the conflict, combined with a series of studies conducted by local researchers on behalf of the MPC. This project started in January 2013 as a result of a close collaboration between a team of journalists and these local researchers under the auspices of the MPC. Its main aim is to paint a broad picture of the worst refugee crisis to affect the region in years.

This website examines the role played by the European Union, both as a provider of humanitarian aid, and as a hosting region. While it is true that the EU is a leading contributor to the humanitarian aid to the region, the amount donated by each of its 28 member states varies greatly. At the moment, 70% of the funding is still missing according to the estimates of the UNHCR. To date, the EU has accepted the vast majority of Syrians who have requested asylum, having processed however relatively few applications. Despite the exponential increase in 2015, these have accounted for less than 10% of the total number of displaced Syrians. In contrast, absorbing the influx of refugees has been an enormous challenge for Syria’s neighbours, with strong implications for the stability of the entire region. We hope this website is an accessible way to better understand this migration crisis.

Updated September 2016

Visit the MPC website on the migrant crisis

Migration and refugee movements in the Mediterranean countries have gained unprecedented momentum, while the situation along migratory routes to Europe, and within Europe itself, changes rapidly. Opinions of all kinds flourish, often without the necessary base of accurate and up-to-date information.

The MPC website on the current migrant crisis targets media, policy-makers and politicians, migration stakeholders, and the academic community, providing the facts needed to understand the course of events in order to contribute to informed judgments. The website is updated on a weekly basis. It offers comprehensive, detailed, multidimensional and multi-sited information gathered from a wide variety of sources, either open or not to public access.

The website gathers all the relevant data (statistics, graphs, maps, legislations, documents from governments and other stakeholders, etc.), accompanied by analytical notes and policy briefs. It covers all the countries on the main migration routes to the EU, allowing for the comparison between EU and non-EU countries.

FOCUS ON SYRIANS