Newspapers across Europe and the United States have been dominated by images, both heartening and horrifying, of Europe’s worsening refugee crisis. In reality, the crisis is not acutely European, but rather a global crisis felt most dramatically in Syria’s neighbors. But as unprecedented numbers of migrants and refugees stream into Europe, the union has been confronted with a two-part challenge. The refugees are testing the infrastructural capacities of many of Europe’s states, but also the idea of the EU and some of its core policies, including open internal borders. The United States, too, is implicated in the crisis and invested in its resolution.
In this brief, GMF experts from across Europe examine the scope of the crisis and the different national reactions to it in France, Germany, Poland, Serbia, and Turkey — with the transatlantic view offered by the organization’s Brussels office. The authors outline the diverse political challenges faced by these governments that have so far hindered a more pragmatic humanitarian response to the crisis.