Europe’s refugees and migrants: Hidden flows, tightened borders and spiralling costs
Migration and forced displacement are on top of the global political agenda. However, many countries are yet to engage in a pragmatic debate on how to address and manage refugee and migrant flows. The focus on containing and reducing migration has been characterised by a crisis of solidarity and politics, in Europe and beyond. Effective policy responses are urgently required, and yet the gap between what is needed and what can realistically be achieved seems wider than ever. This report aims to make a concrete and positive contribution to this gap, by taking a closer look at recent data on refugee and migrant flows and the cost of the European policy response, beyond the media headlines. The report analyses the number of people arriving in Europe via both well-known, ‘overt’ routes (mainly by sea, across the Mediterranean) and far less understood, ‘covert’ routes, as well as the direct financial costs incurred by European states in an attempt to reduce the number of people arriving in Europe and the money spent in neighbouring regions to address the root causes of migration and displacement. Finally, the support costs for asylum seekers and those granted protection by member states are examined. Based on this analysis, this report concludes by making a number of recommendations about how Europe can better manage the movement of people to, and within, its borders.